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Halloween safety guide: COVID-19

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

Table of contents

Celebrating holidays continues to be a highlight for families everywhere. It’s a moment to come together, spend time with families and make new memories. With Halloween around the corner, and, in a year defined by a pandemic, many may wonder how to celebrate this frightful occasion. After all, COVID-19 remains a concern for many parents who want to protect their children and minimize virus exposure. 

Even though the pandemic has changed our lives in many ways, we still can celebrate the holidays this year, including Halloween. To do so, we need to take even more precautions for Halloween. From trick or treating to Halloween parties to decorating, Halloween celebrations may look different, but can still be fun and entertaining. 

Trick or treating safety

For many children, trick or treating is the heart of Halloween, and something none of them want to miss. By taking the following precautions, parents can help have a safer Halloween while their kids collect their favorite sweet treats. 

Decorations and lighting 

One of the most fun parts of Halloween is decorating. From stretching spider webs across the porch pillars to hanging skeletons in the trees and playing scary music, decorations set the tone for trick or treating. However, it’s important to be careful how and where you place those decorations so kids and parents stay safe as they approach your front door. The walkway and front steps should be clear of any hanging decorations that could hit or entangle visitors. Likewise, you don’t want any decorations to encroach on the walkway that could trip up visitors. Having adequate lighting along the walkway and front steps also can help prevent tripping or falls.

If someone does trip, fall, or otherwise get injured on your property while trick or treating, your homeowners insurance policy can help pay their medical expenses. 

Road safety

Driving on Halloween can be particularly difficult with so many people out and about. Not only are sidewalks crowded, but oftentimes those crowds may spill out into the road. In addition, Halloween celebrants may be more difficult to spot if they are wearing dark-colored costumes. Even lighter-colored costumes can be hard to see after it gets dark because of poor or no street lighting. Therefore, proceed slowly when trick or treaters are out.

In the event you do have a car accident on Halloween, and someone is injured, the bodily injury liability coverage in your car insurance policy will pay the costs of the person injured. If you damage someone else’s personal property or vehicle, your policy’s property damage liability coverage will help cover the damage. 

Candy

Receiving

During trick or treating, do not let the kids eat any candy while they are out and about. Clean hands in between homes with hand sanitizer to ward off germs from touching doorbells, handrails and other high-touch surfaces. Once you return home, have the kids go straight in and wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. While they are washing their hands, consider inspecting their candy for anything that looks suspicious or out of place. 

Giving

You should also wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before packaging candy to give it out. Also, use a disinfectant wipe to clean your doorknob, light switches or other high-touch surfaces you or trick or treaters will touch.

Costumes

Masks

Given masks are highly encouraged to help curb virus spread, Halloween costumes with masks may be a great addition this year. Just make sure your child can breathe freely and see clearly through the mask to help prevent trips or falls. 

Party safety 

If you prefer to host a Halloween party at home, this can be a great way to scare up some fun. By following these safety practices, you can help everyone have a frightfully good time on All Hollow’s Eve. 

Decorations

Halloween party decorations can be as simple as a carved pumpkin, a poster of a black cat or orange and black streamers. Of course, some people get quite elaborate, with spooky lighting, spiders dangling from the ceiling and eerie music filling the room. Whatever you choose for your holiday decor, make sure it won’t interfere with anyone’s enjoyment. For long decorations, consider hanging them from the ceiling and along the room’s perimeter so that partygoers don’t have to walk through them, which could lead to trips or falls. Shorter hanging decorations can be spread throughout the room, but make sure they stop before hitting anyone in the head. 

Spooky lighting can add to the Halloween mood, but make sure it’s bright enough for everyone to navigate the room without any trouble. No one wants to trip or fall over another person or the furniture because they can’t see. Also, clear pathways so guests can easily move about the room or go from room to room. 

Guest safety

Follow safety guidelines like limiting your event to a small number of people who can remain at least 6 feet apart, hosting your event outside to allow for social distancing and increased air ventilation and setting out hand sanitizer for guests during the party. 

Before the party starts, use a disinfectant wipe to clean high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, light switches and handrails. Periodically disinfect these areas throughout the party to help minimize the spread of germs. 

Food and drinks

No party, including a Halloween party, is complete without good food and drinks. However, it’s important to limit who touches food utensils and drink containers. Before setting out any food or drink, wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water. If utensils are necessary, consider purchasing individually wrapped utensil packs that include a fork, spoon, knife and napkin. 

If possible, offer your guests self-serve foods and drinks so they can choose what they want without touching others’ treats. For example, individually wrapped snack cakes, single-serve chip bags, or individual ice cream bars may be a good idea to have at your party. For drinks, offer individual containers of water, juice or soda. If using condiments, set out individual, one-time-use packets of ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. 

Choose one person to set out or restock food and drink options to limit how many people are touching these items and wash hands in between setting out food or use hand sanitizer. 

Halloween Activites

Virtual trick or treating

If you want to further limit your kids’ in-person interaction with others, consider having a virtual Halloween celebration. For instance, you and your friends can have a Zoom trick or treating event. Have everyone log on from outside their front doors. Once everyone participating is logged on, let each one take turns “trick or treating” at their home. This could include going from room to room in the house to trick or treat with different family members.  Afterward, everyone can show off their candy collections and discuss their favorites. 

Pumpkin carving

Carving pumpkins remains one of the most popular Halloween activities, so make it a highlight this year. Set up a carving area on a stable surface that is well-lit and dry. Wash your hands and carving tools before you start, making sure your hands and tools are completely dry before you begin. Use small, controlled motions when carving to help prevent wayward movement with the tools that could lead to cuts. Adults should supervise children. Once your pumpkin is carved, light it up with a battery-operated candle to reduce any fire risk. If you prefer using candles, it’s a good idea to review your homeowners insurance coverage and deductible in the event you do have a fire from your decorations.

Party games

You can’t have a great Halloween party without some haunted-themed games. For younger kids, try “pin the nose on the jack-o-lantern” or musical chairs using Halloween-themed music like “Monster Mash.”

Older kids can compete in a scavenger hunt, with the winners receiving a ziptop bag of candy. Or see which child or team can be the first to decipher a Halloween-themed word scramble or word search. 

You can also print out these Halloween coloring pages and let the kids explore their creative side.

Movie fest

Host your own Halloween movie fest to scare up some fun. “Casper,” “Ernest Scared Stupid” and “Scooby-Doo! And the Goblin King” are just a few of the choices available for younger viewers. For older kids, consider any of the “Harry Potter” movies, “Goosebumps” movies or “Beetlejuice.” Teenagers could watch classics such as the “Halloween” movies, the “Scream” movies or the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies.

Spooky stories 

Have a storytelling contest. Let each family member or friend take turns making up and telling a spooky ghost story or scary tale. After everyone has shared their story, take a vote to see which story was the best Halloween story. The winner gets a special prize.  

Bottom line

Celebrating Halloween during a pandemic may seem spooky, but it doesn’t have to be. Taking precautions to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus can increase the frightful fun for all. This includes washing hands often with soap and water or frequently using hand sanitizer. Also, make sure to routinely clean high-touch surfaces with disinfectant wipes. 

For trick or treating, practice safety measures such as keeping decorations from encroaching on walkways or front steps, and make sure those areas are well-lit. When walking, stay on sidewalks. If driving, proceed slowly when trick or treaters are out, and watch for kids. 

If hosting a Halloween party, follow safety precautions to help avoid spreading germs. Also, make sure decorations don’t obstruct or hit partygoers, and keep the area well-lit. Offer self-serve food and drink items to limit contact among attendees.  

Consider participating in virtual Halloween events, carving pumpkins or watching scary movies to celebrate the holiday. Regardless of what Halloween event you choose, you can still have a frightfully fun Halloween celebration.