Trick-or-Treating Alternatives: Planning a Safe Halloween

Trick-or-Treating Alternatives: Planning a Safe Halloween

Pumpkin with Happy Halloween and bats drawn on it
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Halloween will be different than in years past. To encourage the safety, health and wellbeing of residents, Prince William Health District officials recommend that families do not participate in traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating. Instead, refer to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH)  list which categorizes typical Halloween activities based on the risk each presents for transmission of COVID-19. Additional details are available from the VDH. The County’s tourism department has also put together a list of local events and activities (including family-friendly and adult outings) that could take the place of trick-or-treating.

“We understand that Halloween is usually a joyous time when families venture out to participate in a variety of fun fall activities. After being stuck indoors for months, cabin fever may really be getting to residents, and they may want to venture out,” said Prince William Health District Director Dr. Alison Ansher. “However, we are still in the midst of a pandemic. It is important that everyone exercise prudence and caution. This will help us all stay healthy and well.”

Lowest Risk

  • 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 items 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 in your home.
  • 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

  • Participating in trick-or-treating with distancing strategies in place (e.g. treat-givers provide individually wrapped goodie bags 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)).
  • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags.
  • Stopping only at homes where individuals are wearing masks, and it is easy to maintain six feet of distance between the host and other trick-or-treaters.
  • Attending a small, outside event such as trunk-or-treat, where social distancing can be maintained and everyone is wearing a mask.
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards, where wearing masks is encouraged and enforced, and people are able to maintain at least six feet of physical distance.

 Highest Risk

  • Trick-or-treating at a large number of homes or visiting multiple neighborhoods where residents go door-to-door.
  • Trick-or-treating at homes where individuals are not wearing a mask, and where six feet of physical distance is not maintained between individuals.
  • Attending parties or events that may become crowded and social distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household.
  • Going to indoor haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming.

Above all, whether residents participate in any type of Halloween activities, the County wants to thank the community for wearing face masks, practicing social distancing and being patient with one another during this challenging time. More information, including free testing sites for County residents, can be found on Prince William’s dedicated COVID-19 site.

Pumpkin with Happy Halloween and bats drawn on it