The latest casualty of events cancelled by COVID-19 is the annual Scare-It Halloween event in the Scarritt Renaissance neighborhood.
The Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association announced Monday that the event has been cancelled “due to lack of sponsorship funding, social distancing and event liability insurance restrictions related to COVID-19.”
The neighborhood association requested that residents follow any city or state guidance or restrictions that may be imposed on trick-or-treating within the following weeks leading up to Halloween.
“In absence of such restrictions, we recommend homeowners who do not wish to participate in trick-or-treating on the night of Halloween to turn off their porch lights and/or post a sign stating such,” an announcement from the neighborhood association said. “We ask parents and trick-or-treaters to be respectful of your neighbors wishes as they are likely doing so to protect your family from exposure to the COVID virus.”
The Center for Disease Control has released guidance for safe practices in celebrating Halloween for those wishing to participate, including safe alternatives.
Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses, according to the CDC. Anyone who may have COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters, the CDC cautioned.
Lower risk activities for celebrating Halloween include carving or decorating pumpkins within the household and displaying them; carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends; decorating the house, apartment, or living space; doing a Halloween scavenger hunt; a virtual Halloween costume contest; a Halloween movie night with people you live with; a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house.
Those hoping for moderate risk activities can plan to participate in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard). For those preparing goodie bags, the CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.
Other alternatives to a traditional gathering include having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade or party where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart.
According to the CDC, a costume mask, such as for Halloween, is not a substitute for a cloth mask and should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.
The CDC does not recommend wearing a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, those who dress up should consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
There are many other spooky ideas for those who celebrate, like going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest or having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family and friends where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than 6 feet apart. If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus, according to the CDC.
The CDC reminds those who plan to visit pumpkin patches or orchards to use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wear a mask and maintain social distancing.
The CDC recommends cancelling higher risk activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These includeparticipating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door, having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots, attending crowded costume parties held indoors, going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming, going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household; using alcohol or drugs which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors or traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19.
More information on CDC recommendations for fall and winter holiday celebrations can be found here.
For those who will inevitable be disappointed by this year’s Halloween, reminisce on last year’s Scare-It here.