HELENA — Halloween is a holiday that is normally filled with all kinds of fun activities for people of all ages, but with Coronavirus still lurking as we head into the haunted holiday, how should we safely celebrate?
MTN reached out to the Lewis and Clark County Department of Health and Human Services to ask this very question.
Public Health Officer Drenda Niemann says, “Doing some trick or treating in your small neighborhood, making sure that you are staying 6 feet apart, and wearing your mask in that situation is probably okay, having big parties where you have lots of people in a small space- not such a good idea.”
These rules fall under Governor Steve Bullock’s directive, but each county may have separate regulations in place for the fall celebration.
Niemann says, “The way we have trick or treated in the past needs to look different this year. The downtown area has been a real draw for people to come and hangout together and celebrate together. Certain neighborhoods have been a draw, but what we are recommending this year is that we not gather in those big groups."
If you aren’t sure how to safely participate in Halloween more suggestions can be found on the CDC’s website, broken down into high, moderate, and low risk categories.
The CDC lists traditional trick or treating as a “high risk” activity, along with having trunk or treats, or attending crowded parties.
If you’re looking for a moderate risk activity, the CDC recommends participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped bags are lined up for families to grab, attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart, or visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people are wearing masks and social distancing.
For those looking for low risk Halloween options, the CDC recommends carving pumpkins with members of your household, doing a Halloween scavenger hunt, or having a virtual Halloween costume contest.
According to the an article published by the National Confectioners Association, data collected since September 6th, shows--compared to this time last year, Halloween chocolate and candy sales are up 13%. according to the National Retail Federation, 53% of people plan to decorate for Halloween, up from 49% last year.
It looks like the Coronavirus won’t scare people away from Halloween this year.
Just be sure to check with your local county health department before venturing out on the haunted holiday.
Niemann also says “Halloween masks are not a substitute for cloth masks and should never be worn under a costume mask due to possible difficulty in breathing. Instead, consider making or using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.”