Ohioans should consider drive-through trick-or-treating and stay out of haunted houses to avoid catching COVID-19 this Halloween, according to safety guidelines released Friday by the Ohio Department of Health.
The new guidance advises Ohioans to cancel all hayrides, haunted houses and large in-person gatherings, especially those that take place indoors. Even at a small gathering, close-quarters Halloween activities such as bobbing for apples are a hard no.
When trick-or-treating or considering other holiday events, the health department says participants should keep sanitizer on hand and remain six feet away from people who are not members of their household.
Trick-or-treaters should be cautious, and households handing out candy should be creative. Instead of sending children from house to house, the health department’s instructions include suggestions such as holding a drive-by costume contest, leaving treats in mailboxes or — memorably — “using a candy ‘slide’ made of PVC pipe or hanging treats from a wall or fence” to get them to trick-or-treaters.
Holidays have been some of the state’s largest sources of concern since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Gov. Mike DeWine. Fourth of July celebrations caused an accompanying spike during the summer; health officials worried publicly that Labor Day would do the same.
The Ohio Department of Health recommended that, as with any activity in 2020, people who feel sick or have been in contact with a sick person should not participate in any Halloween celebration that involves physical interaction with others.
The full list of guidelines for families, children and people planning events is available here.