October 22, 2020

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Creating Community During COVID-19

Fall celebrations, such as Halloween and Día de los Muertos, often include crowded parties and other large gatherings of families and friends that may put people at increased risk for COVID-19. There are several safer ways to participate in festivities and enjoy the season.


If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, stay home. Learn how to care for yourself and how to help protect other people in your home and community.


Below are some additional considerations for hosting or attending an in-person holiday gathering:

  • Outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities, always keep a distance of at least 6 ft. from others and wear a face mask. 
    • If an outdoor event is not possible, or if you choose to attend an indoor event, always wear a face mask, and avoid crowded, poorly ventilated, and fully enclosed indoor spaces.
    • Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors to the extent that is safe and feasible.
  • Check with the event host, organizer, or event venue for updated information about any COVID-19 safety guidelines and if they have steps in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Bring supplies to help you and others stay healthy. For example, bring extra masks (do not share or swap with others), hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and tissues.
  • If you are planning to attend in-person gatherings with people outside of your household, consider strictly avoiding contact with people outside of your household for 14 days before and after the gathering.
  • Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs
  • Consider not going to parties or bars to celebrate with others in enclosed environments.
  • Consider avoiding travel to a fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19. 

Halloween

Pumpkins and jack-o-laterns

Please see the CDC page for more information about staying safe when celebrating Halloween (English) (Spanish)


Lower risk activities: These lower risk activities can be safe alternatives

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household 
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at least 6 feet apart, wearing a face mask, with neighbors or friends
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
  • Having a trick-or-treat scavenger hunt with your household members in or around your home. Usually, costume masks (such as for Halloween) will not stop COVID-19 spread. Be sure any mask is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.
  • Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can make it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask. 

Moderate risk activities

  • Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)
    • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags.
  • Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than 6 feet apart
    • If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading COVID-19.
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to stay at least 6 feet apart

Higher risk activities: Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19

  • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door-to-door
  • Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
  • Attending crowded parties held indoors
  • Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors 

For additional information please see the page for Trick-or-Treating and Other Halloween Activities


Día de los Muertos 

An altar honoring deceased loved ones for Día de los Muertos

Please see the CDC page for more information about staying safe when celebrating Día de Los Muertos (English) (Spanish)

Lower risk activities: These lower risk activities can be safe alternatives

  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others
  • Staying home and playing music that your deceased loved ones enjoyed
  • Making and decorating masks, or making an altar for the deceased
  • Setting out pillows and blankets in your home for the deceased
  • Joining a virtual celebration with your family and friends who do not live in your home
  • Communicating with your family via cellphone video apps to celebrate (WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom, etc.) 

Moderate risk activities

  • Having a small group outdoor, open-air parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart and wearing cloth masks
  • With people who live with you, visiting and decorating graves of loved ones (Keep at least 6 feet away from others in the area and wear a mask.)
  • Hosting or attending a small dinner with local family and friends outdoors where people stay more than 6 feet part 

Higher risk activities: Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19

  • Attending large indoor celebrations with singing or chanting
  • Participating in crowded indoor gatherings or events
  • Having a large gathering with people from different households coming from different geographic locations, especially those from areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
  • Attending Day of the Dead celebrations where there are others who do not live in your household, especially if these are being held indoors 


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