A COVID-19 Halloween

Joceline Medina, Staff Writer

With Halloween just a few days away, students are wondering: Is Trick or Treating happening this year? —The good news is, you can still celebrate the spooky holiday but with the inclusion of several health and safety regulations.  

On Monday, October 5, Mayor of SL Mike Porsch signed a proclamation at the city council meeting, recommending that trick-or-treaters take special precautions this Halloween to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Found on the Storm Lake, IA official website, the City provides various recommendations to ensure a safe and lively Halloween.  

Those who wish to participate are encouraged to leave their outdoor lights on. That way, trick-or-treaters can distinguish which houses to go to.  

In addition, rather than presenting a bowl of candy for everyone to put their hand in and choose from, candy should be handed out individually to reduce cross contact. Another suggestion is to hand out individualized plastic or paper bags for children to take.  

When trick-or-treating, families should stay in a group to avoid mingling with others. For your safety, maintain a six-foot distance when waiting to approach a house. Masks and face coverings are highly encouraged. 

The Iowa Department of Health offers additional recommendations for those planning to take part in Halloween activities. The Storm Lake, IA website released the statement: 

“As Iowans prepare to celebrate Halloween, IDPH wants to remind all that COVID-19 is still circulating in Iowa and encourage all Iowans to continue to take precautions to protect the health of themselves and their families.” 

IDPH urges Iowans to follow CDC’s guidelines when deciding what is suitable for their families. Considering that Halloween activities can pose a high risk for spreading the virus, the official CDC website, cdc.gov, provides various ways to participate in a much safer manner.  

Low-Risk Activities 

Activities with a low risk include: 

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with

Moderate Risk Activities 

Activities with a moderate risk include: 

  • 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
  • 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
  • Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart

High-Risk Activities 

Activities with a high risk should be avoided to prevent the spread of the virus. These include: 

  • 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

 

These are just a few examples of Halloween Activities that could lead to the spread of COVID-19. It is very important that our community takes the proper precautions to ensure the safety of others. For more information, visit the CDC official website.  

If your family or social circle has been recently exposed to COVID-19, you should not participate in any Halloween activities to avoid exposing others to the virus. 

Keri Navratil, City Manager, leaves us with the statement:  

“Being cautious and practicing social distancing will make Halloween a safer event for all.”  

 

Sources: 

“Official Website.” Storm Lake, IA, www.stormlake.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=793.  

“COVID-19: Holiday Celebrations.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for  

Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-  

coping/holidays.html.