Cartoon by Frank Shiers

Cartoon by Frank Shiers

COVID-19 guidelines for Halloween

Halloween will undoubtedly look different this year, with public health agencies warning people against traditional trick-or-treating. But there’s still plenty to do around the Snoqualmie Valley for the holiday.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the Centers for Disease Control and Seattle-King County Public Health have issued guidelines on which activities are safer and which are more risky.

In-person, traditional trick-or-treating is defined as a high-risk activity. This includes handing out treats to children going door to door. Crowded indoor costume parties, indoor haunted houses or attractions where people will be screaming is also high risk.

Lower risk activities include having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local friends and family while staying at least 6 feet apart. Visiting pumpkin patches is also in the medium-risk category, as are small outdoor costume parties and one-way trick-or-treating, where goodie bags are set out and picked up by families.

Several of the safest activities include staying at home, carving or decorating pumpkins with household members, or with neighbors and friends at a safe distance. Virtual events like costume parties or movie nights are also encouraged.

Another option to reduce the risk for those who choose to distribute candy is to mark “waiting spots” 6 feet apart on the way to the front door. Seattle-King County Public Health also suggested sliding candy down a wrapping paper tube into trick-or-treat bags.

The highest risk activities are ones where people will be inside, and close to each other at bars or house parties. As a rule, keeping activities and gatherings small and outdoors will help minimize risk.

Public Health is urging everyone to wear masks. Masks should snugly cover noses and mouths, and can be decorated with fabric markers or embellishments to match costumes.

New coronavirus cases have been increasing in King County over the last several weeks. The county now has an infection rate of 72 cases per 100,000 residents, up from 50 cases per 100,000 residents in late September.

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