If COVID-19 hasn’t been spooky enough not following the CDC’s guidelines for having a safe and fun Halloween gathering could easily turn that party into a terrifying ‘what if’ scenario.
For example, ‘what if I dressed up as a vampire but I forgot to wear a mask so, in reality, I was actually a COVID-19 super-spreader?’ That’s a Scooby-Doo villain no one wants to be. The CDC has all the guidelines and information you should know to keep you and your loved ones safe this holiday season.
There are many factors to consider before throwing that fall or winter shindig. The CDC warns us to be aware of the following:
- Community Levels of Covid-19
- Location of the party or gathering
- Duration of the event
- Number of folks at the party
- Location of traveling attendees of the gathering
- The behavior of attendees both before AND after the event takes place
If you’re going to throw a party here are some safety tips and tricks
Listen, my birthday is a week after Halloween and honestly, the whole month of October is Halloween in my opinion, so if you’re going to throw a monster mash at your place please act accordingly!
- Throw it outdoors if weather permits!
- Limit the guest list
- Provide free face masks, tissues, hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol or above to be effective, and EPA pre-approved wipes for surfaces strong enough to kill the virus
- Use single-use party favors such as plastic silverware, paper plates, cups, and throwaway tablecloths you can easily dispose of after party-goers have gone to the snack table! This lowers the risk of spread via fomites.
- If your party must be indoors please allow for proper ventilation and space for guests to social distance while wearing Halloween themed masks (most costume masks don’t cut it and the CDC warns double-masking it could cause breathing issues)
- Only invite folks from your community or household to limit infections and spread from other communities
- If you must invite people from outside your community advise them to quarantine fourteen days prior to the event (and fourteen days after they go back to their own community)
Here is how attendees at holiday gatherings can be safe
- Wear a mask
- Social distance
- Wash your hands or bring your own bottle of 60% or more alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Don’t get too loaded. I know this sounds silly, it’s a party, right? However, folks who go overboard with drinking or drugs at any gathering (we all have that one annoying close-talking uncle) and when you’re wasted you tend to engage in high-risk behavior completely unaware. Please be mindful of your friend’s and family’s space during pandemic times!
- Keep the singing, shouting, and screaming to a minimum. Again, we all know that guy at the party. If it’s you, take your pitchy rendition of the Ghostbusters theme song outside with your buddies for the sake of everyone’s safety, thank you.
- If you’ve been infected, have symptoms, or live with someone high risk for contracting Covid-19 skip the in-person celebration this year. There are plenty of low-risk activities that you can take part in that I will get to next!
Low to moderate risk events to safely throw this year
The CDC gives us some fun and safe scare-tastic activities that are fun for the whole family here!
- Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends from your local community
- Decorating your house, apartment, or living space for the Holiday!
- Doing a Halloween themed scavenger hunt where your kids are given lists of “spooky” things to find or look out for while they walk house to house outside to admire the neighbors Halloween decorations from a safe distance
- Host a virtual Halloween costume contest on Zoom
- Throw a Halloween movie night marathon with your roommates
- Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house
- Outdoor costume party
- Walking along a haunted trail or forest
All of these options sound really fun, to be honest and with Thanksgiving fast approaching there are a few reminders and recommendations to stay safe during the food Olympics as I like to call it.
- Get a flu vaccine. A lot of folks travel especially via airlines during this time so it’s vital you’re extra protected this time around!
- Throw a virtual dinner and share recipes over Zoom!
- Watch the parade and other sporting events from the safety of your own home
- Have a small gathering in a large ventilated home with members living in your household
- Go to a pumpkin patch or apple orchard outside! Make sure you adhere to safe social distancing guidelines while doing so
- Do your Black Friday shopping online this year. No need to shove strangers over a PS5 and risk both of you getting sick!
Just a friendly reminder no matter what non-denominational holiday you might celebrate to stay safe and have fun with low-risk for infection activities so we can properly come together and give thanks to our friends and loved ones in 2021.