In a year that’s been plenty scary, this much is clear: Pandemic Halloween will be different than regular Halloween. Many traditional ways of celebrating are now considerably more frightful than usual, because now they bring the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
Accordingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines on how to celebrate Halloween safely. No big surprise: Classic door-to-door trick-or-treating and crowded, boozy costume parties are not recommended.
The CDC’s guidelines group Halloween activities into lower-risk, moderate-risk and higher-risk buckets.
The higher-risk category includes both door-to-door trick-or-treating and events where kids get treats from the trunks of cars in a big parking lot.
Also no-nos: indoor haunted houses where people will be crowded and screaming, which could send infectious particles flying. Going on hayrides with people who aren’t in your household or fall festivals in rural areas also carry a risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. And using alcohol and drugs “can cloud [judgment] and increase risky behaviors,” the CDC warns — though that’s equally true in any season.