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Posted on: September 24, 2020

Tips for Celebrating Halloween Safely this Year

Tips For Celebrating Halloween Safely This Year with bats background

As we prepare for the first Halloween during COVID-19, Routt County Public Health reminds you to continue practicing safe prevention measures such as wearing a mask, staying six feet away from people not in your household, keeping group sizes under ten people, washing your hands often and staying home if you are sick.

Due to public health concerns, the City of Steamboat Springs will not be closing Lincoln Avenue for the Halloween Stroll, but encourages families and individuals to celebrate the holiday in creative ways while keeping safe.

“COVID-19 has given us all the opportunity to be flexible and creative. Staying safe during Halloween activities is necessary to keeping our case count low.  Practicing prevention measures such as masking up and staying six feet away from people not in your household; keeping group size under ten people and washing your hands often is still necessary. We urge the public to commemorate Halloween creatively and safely,” said Roberta Smith, Routt County Public Health Director.

“Halloween can be scary enough without adding the additional concerns of coronavirus transmission and large public crowds,” commented City Manager Gary Suiter. “We want everyone to have a safe and healthy holiday, so please celebrate responsibly and ‘mask up’!”

Mathew Mendisco, Town Manager of Hayden added, “Halloween is a fun time and something that kids look forward to each year. Personal responsibility is always the best option, do what you feel is best, be safe, and have fun.” 

“Halloween is a much-loved tradition in Oak Creek.  We encourage our residents and Trick or Treaters to follow the county safety protocol.   We can continue our traditions and stay safe by following a few ‘non-traditional’ rules!” said Nikki Knoebel, mayor of Oak Creek.

"Have fun making your masks go with your costume, no better time to embrace it.  Please keep in mind to social distance and be safe keeping your COVID procedures in place.  Ghostly Greetings and we hope you have a fang-tastic time!" said Sheila Symons, Yampa Town Clerk. 

Ideas for celebrating:

·      Set up a trick-or-treat driveway table for individual treats in rows at the end of your driveway, and wave at trick-or-treaters from your front door.

·      Continue trick or treating in your neighborhood. Walk with your family in costumes in your neighborhood and visit the trick or treat driveways.

·      Set up a piñata for your children in your own yard.

·      Create a haunted house  inside/outside for your children.

·      Copy the tradition of the Easter bunny and hide Halloween candy for your kids to find.

·      Prepare a night of scary movies, ghost stories, candy and blankets.

·      Share how you celebrated Halloween when you were young and bring out the pictures of your favorite costumes.

·      Create a video of everyone in your family in costume and in character and share on social media

·      Host virtual costume parties/contests and pumpkin-carving contests.

Practice the Five Commitments to Containment:

·      Wear a facial covering to prevent the spread of COVID-19

·      Practice social distancing of six feet with others not in your household

·      Stay home if you are sick or at risk

·      Wash your hands often, hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available

·      Get tested if you have symptoms or if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive.

Here are some guidelines from the CDC:

Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween. If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Lower risk activities

These lower risk activities can be safe alternatives:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends

  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space

  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance

  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest

  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with

  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

Moderate risk activities

  • Participating 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)

    • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.

  • Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart

  • Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart

    • A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask 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.

    • Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.

  • Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest 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.

  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing

  • Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 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.

    • Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.

Higher risk activities

Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Participating 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

  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19

Visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween

Visit: https://www.covid19routtcounty.com for more information on county public health orders.

Visit: https://covid19.colorado.gov for more information on state public health orders.

Contacts:

City of Steamboat Springs, Mike Lane, mlane@steamboatsprings.net, 970.871.8220

Routt County, Robin Schepper, rschepper@co.routt.co.us

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