State officials are cautioning residents against answering the door for trick-or-treaters this year in new guidelines on celebrating Halloween during a pandemic. Instead, consider leaving a bowl of candy on the porch.
The Department of Public Health is recommending “one-way” trick-or-treating, where kids can pick candy from a bowl or a goodie bag left on the porch. For folks who insist on opening the door to greet the children, the department recommends they keep their mouths and noses covered with a mask and remain six feet from the trick-or-treaters. If possible, place the candy in the bag for the child, rather than allowing them to pick it out of a bowl. Providing hand sanitizer is also recommended.
Kids should only trick-or-treat with people from their household and parents should consider limiting the number of houses visited. Everyone involved should wear a facial covering at all times while trick-or-treating, according to the guidelines.
The department also offered guidance on which masks to wear, suggesting trick-or-treaters wear Halloween-themed cloth masks rather than costume masks.
“A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth or surgical 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 does not leave gaps around the face,” the department said.
The guidelines also warn against wearing a costume mask over a cloth mask, which could make breathing difficult.
The guidelines suggested avoiding other events like large Halloween parties, large Halloween parades where distancing is impossible, hayrides, and Trunk-or-Treat events where kids move from car to car to collect candy in parking lots.
Families should consider instead virtual Halloween events, drive-bys to check out the neighborhood decorations, or watching a Halloween movie at home, the department wrote.
“We don’t think it is necessary to cancel Halloween activities,” Public Health Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford said during a Thursday press conference. “But there are certain risks associated with different traditional activities on Halloween and we’re recommending people avoid those higher-risk activities.”
“Activities that are outdoors that you can do within your family unit, where you’re keeping a safe social distance with a mask on, we don’t think those things need to be cancelled,” she said.
Gov. Ned Lamont said the state was not “standing in the way” of families looking to enjoy Halloween.
“We’re just giving you clear guidance on how you can do that safely,” he said. “For those of you that don’t want Halloween or don’t want kids coming up to your door—maybe you’ve got a preexisting condition or maybe you just don’t think it’s the right thing to do—you can probably skip this Halloween and keep the door closed.”