By Kris McDowell

Halloween is typically a time of parties and getting together with friends for spooky fun. Like many things over the past six months, Halloween will need to look different this year to keep everyone safe and healthy.

The CDC recommends avoiding higher risk activities like door-to-door or trunk-to-treat events, indoor haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming, crowded costume parties held indoors and traveling to a rural festival not in your community.

Instead they offer ideas for lower risk and moderate risk activities.

The safest ways to celebrate include carving pumpkins with members of your own household or at a safe distance with friends or neighbors; doing a Halloween scavenger hunt of Halloween-themed things to look for while walking outdoors (with others at a distance); having a virtual Halloween costume contest, or a Halloween movie night with people you live with or having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house – think Easter egg hunt with a Halloween twist.

Moderate risk activities include one-way trick-or-treating with individually-wrapped goodie bags placed at the end of a driveway or edge of a yard; a small group, outdoor costume parade where people are distanced more than six feet apart; going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest wearing masks and maintaining at least a six-foot distance from others; visiting pumpkin patches or orchards wearing masks, staying socially-distanced and using hand sanitizer or having an outdoor Halloween movie night with people spaced at least six feet apart.

For any gatherings, those who feel sick should stay home and hosts should consider keeping a list of guests who attended for potential future contract tracing needs.

In addition to social distancing and wearing masks, everyone should clean their hands often, either by washing for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

If food is served, limit the number of people handling or serving food by encouraging guests to bring their own food and drinks, identifying one person to serve all food so that multiple people are not handling serving utensils and using single serve options.

For many, Halloween is the kick off to the holiday season that runs through year-end. Let this be the start of reimagining how holiday celebrations can be done to keep everyone safe and able to be a part of your next celebration.

Who knows? You just might find ways to celebrate that end up becoming a new tradition for years to come.

Photo by Bekir Donme, Unsplash