Halloween is the time of the year when many fall enthusiasts drink pumpkin spice lattes, watch favorite horror flicks, and go trick-or-treating.
Every year, people around the U.S. and the world throw costume parties to celebrate this holiday, taking the opportunity to spend some quality time with friends and family.
This year, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has made celebrating Halloween more complicated, as social gatherings can facilitate the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease.
Despite this, some data suggest that many people in the U.S. have not let the pandemic deter them from their yearly Halloween preparations.
According to a Statista projection from September 2021, planned nationwide expenses for Halloween costumes amount to $3.3 billion. Estimates also indicate another $3.2 billion on Halloween decorations and $3 billion on candy.
So how can people stay safe while still enjoying this favorite fall holiday? In this Special Feature, we look at some best practices and offer tips for health, safety, and fun.
We have based our suggestions on official guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Handling and offering treats
Trick-or-treating and costume parties may be the best-loved Halloween activities, but they typically involve close contact with many people from different households. This can facilitate the transmission of the coronavirus.
For example, if someone who has unknowingly contracted SARS-CoV and has not experienced any symptoms engages in regular social activities, they might be putting others at risk.
The first and most important step to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 is by getting vaccinated, and the CDC advises everyone who is able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to do so.
The best way to stay safe this Halloween is to avoid contact with people from other households, which might mean avoiding trick-or-treating and attending parties with individuals you do not share a living space with.
However, there are some ways people who want to make the most of this fall festivity can mitigate the risks.
If children go treat-or-tricking, they must avoid coming into direct contact with other treat-or-trickers or with any adults offering them treats.
They must also try to keep at least 6 feet away from other children and adults who do not live with them and carry hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content to use frequently.
Adults may want to supervise children as they use hand sanitizer and use it frequently themselves.