Trick-or-Treating Amid the Pandemic

Trick-or-Treating+Amid+the+Pandemic

Jerilyn Garrett

Jerilyn Garrett, Staff Reporter

With Halloween approaching, Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health released a set of guidelines and recommended practices for safely celebrating the holiday in Ohio amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

As COVID-19 continues to affect events around the world, parents and community members have been wondering if Halloween celebrations and trick-or-treating are still happening this year and how these will be executed. According to the ODH, decisions on whether Halloween will be celebrated should be made by local communities.

With the release of guidelines, the Scioto County Commissions have announced that trick-or-treating will be on Oct. 31 from 5 to 7 p.m., reminding everyone that “participation is voluntary.”

DeWine said that there will be no statewide mandate for trick-or-treaters, instead there will be recommended best practices and the decision to trick-or-treat will be left to parents. “Parents, in turn, will do what parents do and make a decision if their child will go out trick-or-treating,” he said.

The guidance includes several recommendations for how to safely distribute and receive candy. It is suggested to maintain basic COVID-19 safety guidelines, including wearing a face covering, staying six feet apart, using hand sanitizer often and staying home if you are sick. “Select events to attend that are outdoors and allow attendees to stay in their car or socially distance,” the guidance states. 

Officials with the ODH offer ideas of various alternative forms to treat-or-treating that follow the recommended guidelines. These ideas include holding a drive-by trick-or-treat event, leaving treats outside with a sign asking children to only take one, and hiding treats for children to find. Along with these, the guidance mentions some ideas that have recently become popular on social media including using a candy “slide” or “chute” made of PVC pipe or hanging treats from various places.

The ODH also recommends practices for parents and guardians regarding trick-or-treating. The guidance suggests to limit the number of houses to visit, asking your children to stay a safe distance from treat-givers, wipe candy wrappers with sanitizing wipes, and only allow your children to eat factory-wrapped treats.

This guidance will be “reassessed and updated as the situation evolves and we learn more in the weeks leading up to Halloween,” DeWine said. For the full list of guidance on Halloween events and trick-or-treating in Ohio, visit https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/celebrating-halloween.pdf.