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As families prepare for Halloween, Wake County urges caution to limit COVID spread

Posted October 30, 2020 7:01 a.m. EDT
Updated October 30, 2020 7:31 a.m. EDT

As we all gear up for Halloween weekend, Wake County Public Health Division is reminding people that we all need to do our part to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

“We strongly recommend people take extra precautions this year, if they plan to take part in traditional Halloween activities like trick-or-treating,” said Dr. Nicole Mushonga, associate medical director and Epidemiology Program director for Wake County, in a press release. “We don’t want to people to be afraid to have fun, but we do want them to be aware of the activities that will increase their risk of contracting COVID-19.”

Here's what Wake County officials recommend, according to the press release:

  • Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating with children grabbing candy from a shared bowl is strongly discouraged this year. It’s considered a high-risk activity by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you do decide to go trick-or-treating, you’re advised to only go with your household family group.
  • If a crowd forms in front of a house, trick-or-treaters are advised to skip that house. Wake County Public Health officials stress that you should stay socially distanced from those you don't live with.
  • Trick-or-treaters must wear face coverings or cloth masks with their costumes. Most Halloween masks won't meet state health guidelines. They recommend incorporating your face covering into your costume.
  • Wake County Public Health also advises that if you choose to hand out treats, you should do it outside, perhaps with a station set up at the end of your driveway with individually bagged or packaged treats for kids to take. If you are setting up a grab-and-go station, it's best to place it six feet from your front door.

You shouldn't trick-or-treat or leave out candy if you are sick or live with someone who is sick; have been exposed to someone known to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days; or are under isolation or quarantine, the county says.

Wake's health officials also remind people that they should not host or attend a party or any event that violates North Carolina's mass gathering limit of no more than 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. They recommend that you leave if you do go to an event and find a large crowd or people not social distancing.

Those events include trunk-or-treats where large groups might gathering in a parking lot. Drive-thru, contact-free treat giveaways in a parking lot with volunteers handing out candy and wearing cloth face coverings are a better option, the press release says.

For more about how to determine what's safe and not safe this Halloween, check our earlier post with tips from the infection prevention director at UNC Health.

For other COVID-safe ways to celebrate, check these other Go Ask Mom posts: