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News Release

Halloween Safety in Our Town During COVID-19 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Offers Ideas for Alternative Activities

Release Date: October 14, 2020

Contact Information:
Carolyn Grant email icon , Communications Director, 843-341-4618


The fall season ushers in a host of annual fall activities for families and organizations. Among them is Halloween, which may have to be celebrated differently this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In planning trick-or-treating activities, the Town of Hilton Head Island encourages you to use low-, medium- and high-risk guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The guidelines are meant to help protect individuals, their families, friends, and communities from COVID-19. These considerations are meant to supplement - not replace - any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which holiday gatherings must comply.

"We know families still want to enjoy activities with their children and in the community, but we hope they take into consideration the risks that still exist for either contracting the coronavirus or spreading it," said Town Manager Steve Riley. "We ask that you exercise caution and follow guidelines the CDC offers for handing out candy, wearing masks and costumes, gathering in groups and avoiding certain activities. Staying safe and virus-free should be the number one priority."

According to the CDC, "many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween. If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters."

The Island Rec Association is heeding advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Leah Arnold, Director of Programs and Operations. Island Rec is sponsoring a Pumpkin Patch Drive Thru event from 4 to 7 pm on Friday, October 23 at the Shelter Cove Towne Centre (half-circle drop-off zone by Jane’s). "We are asking everyone to stay in their cars when coming to the event. This year, we want everyone to have a nice time, but be safe in doing so," Arnold said.

Low risk activities suggested by the CDC:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, 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 scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

Moderate risk activities suggested by the CDC

  • 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).
  • Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart.
  • Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart.
    • A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it 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 be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
  • 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.
  • 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 maintain social distancing.
  • Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart.

Higher risk activities the CDC suggest be avoided to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes 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 costume 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.
  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19.

For more guidelines on Halloween activities and other holiday gatherings, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html