PITTSBURG, Kan. — Halloween is fast approaching, and with that usually brings hoards of kids traipsing from house to house filling pillowcases with candy as well as parties with kitschy decorations and lights draped everywhere. However, with COVID-19 still making its way through many communities, this Halloween will look a little different.
On Wednesday, the Crawford County Health Department released guidance to enjoy a safe and more socially distanced Halloween night, noting that it was also following guidelines from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).
While both entities did recognize that classic trick or treating, as well as trunk or treat events, could be hard to achieve safely this year, they did have suggestions that may help.
Although many people may have been planning to wear masks on Halloween regardless of COVID-19, both entities recommend all parties wear masks that cover “your nose and mouth” and try to maintain proper social distancing between people.
“Work face coverings into costumes,” KDHE said in their press release from Sept. 23.
As far as trick or treating, the county health department had some ideas to keep everybody safe, but keep the integrity of trick or treating alive.
They recommend not using grab bowls this year and only giving out commercially pre-packaged items instead of homemade.
“Consider spacing items 6 feet apart on your porch, in your yard, or on a table in your
driveway with a sign advising trick or treaters to ‘Take One,’” they said in their press release. “Watch from a safe distance and replenish items as needed. Or, make individual goodie bags for trick or treaters to pick up as they walk by. If your home has a fence, consider hanging individual goodie bags on the fence for trick or treaters to take as they walk by.”
They also listed suggestions for trunk or treating events as well as Halloween parties.
Crawford County suggests that trunk or treat participants “wait for others to depart a car/trunk before approaching. Do not congregate at a car/trunk with other attendees unless they are members of your household. Participating cars should be parked at least 6-feet apart.”
As far as Halloween parties the county health department recommended keeping the gatherings small and outdoors.
“Create individual seating areas of various sizes spaced 6-feet apart to be utilized by
individual households. Encourage guests to sit only with those who are members of
their household,” the press release said. “Avoid activities that require guests to be in close contact or to share items like games or food [and] encourage guests to bring their own food and drinks.”
KDHE also provided some alternatives to classic Halloween events.
“Online parties or contests (e.g., costume contests, pumpkin carving), car parades or drive-by contests where individuals dress up or decorate vehicles and drive-by judges that are appropriately physically distanced, drive-through events where individuals remain in vehicles and drive through an area with Halloween displays, Halloween movie nights at drive-in theaters [and] dressing up homes and yards with Halloween themed decorations,” the press release said.
Both releases urged the public to take these precautions so that everyone can enjoy Oct. 31.
‘“It is important to us that we are able to keep our community open and safe, and to do that we must make smart choices,”’ Crawford County Public Health Officer Dr. Timothy Stebbins said in the press release.