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Ohio Department of Health issues guidance on Halloween festivities amid COVID-19 pandemic

Halloween pumpkin
Posted at 4:02 PM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 17:29:37-04

CLEVELAND — Halloween is right around the corner and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, trick-or-treating and festivities might seem a little—tricky. With the state leaving the decision to participate in holiday festivities this fall, the Ohio Department of Health has issued Halloween guidance to ensure Ohioans can be as safe as possible this year.

When holding trick-or-treat events this year, ODH recommends Ohioans use caution, opting for socially distant ways to pass out and collect candy. The department suggested holding drive-thru or drive-in trick-or-treat events.

Some activities recommended by ODH included drive-by costume contests or car decorating contests with socially distanced judges, hiding treats at home as an alternative to trick-or-treating for those opting out of the activity and holding costume parties and pumpkin carving events online over a video conference.

For those attending a trick-or-treat event, ODH suggests carrying hand sanitizer and using it often, especially before eating candy. Once at home, wrapped candy should be wiped off and sanitized before being opened and eaten.

Parents and guardians taking children trick-or-treating should ensure children stay distanced from other trick-or-treaters when possible.

The department reminds those out at events to wear a mask, except for children 2 years old or younger, those who cannot easily remove masks or those with a condition that makes wearing a mask detrimental to their health.

While trick-or-treating has been given guidance on how to safely be held this year, ODH recommended that haunted houses and hayrides be canceled and avoided, as well as large, in-person Halloween parties.

ODH said having small Halloween parties with 10 or fewer people in an outdoor setting where social distancing is achievable is safe, but party games such as bobbing for apples or other activities that can easily spread the virus should be avoided.

While this Halloween will definitely look different from years past, Ohioans can still have a fun—and safe—spooky season.

You can view ODH's full Halloween guidance document here.