5 Ways to Keep it Spooky & Safe this Halloween

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Health officials and parents are getting creative in how “Quarantine-o-ween” can be frightening and fun without spreading a deadly virus

STATEWIDE – This October, a mask will not just be an accessory to a scary Halloween costume. Little witches and ghosts will not be running house to house, filling their pumpkin-shaped baskets with sour candies and eyeball-shaped chocolates. Bobbing for apples definitely should be avoided. However, Halloween does not have to be canceled this year. 

The Oregon Health Authority announced on Thursday, October 1st that it is following CDC guidance and recommending Oregonians avoid “traditional door-to-door trick or treating and ‘Trunk or Treat'” events this year. In fact, The CDC recommends AVOIDING these higher risk Halloween activities:

  • Traditional trick-or-treating, where treats are handed to children going door to door.
  • Having a trunk-or-treat, where treats are handed out from the trunks of cars lined up in parking lots.
  • 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 judgment 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.

“If you dress up in a costume, be careful to plan a costume that allows you to wear a face covering,” said State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger. “Halloween masks will not protect you or others from coronavirus. Wearing a cloth or disposable face mask that fits snugly and covers your mouth and nose is still required while wearing a costume, no matter how scary your costume is!”

Since we won’t be following the usual traditions this year, here are a few safe, OHA- and parent-approved variations of classic Halloween traditions to ensure you and your family can still have a spooky holiday without having to fear exposure to COVID-19 – the real monster lurking behind the mask. 

  1. Governor Brown’s Spooky + Safe Costume Contest

Governor Kate Brown, a Halloween fan, wants to see your most creative, spooky, and safe costume (a costume that includes a face covering is recommended, but not required). Post now through October 30th using the hashtag #spookysafeoregon for the chance to be featured on Gov. Brown’s social media channels on Halloween. (Please note, if you use this hashtag you are consenting to the photo being shared on the Governor’s social media.)

  1. Haunted Egg Hunt 

Dress up in a costume, turn on the scary music, and hunt for haunted plastic eggs filled with your favorite Halloween candy. Pro Tip: Use glow-in-the-dark eggs to hold your haunted egg hunt during the Halloween Harvest Moon.  

  1. Pumpkin Carving Contest

Carve or paint pumpkins with your household. Challenge your friends, family, and neighbors to see who can make the most creative pumpkin and then do a virtual “Best in Show” night where everyone can vote for their favorite pumpkin. 

  1. Virtual Halloween Movie Night 

Feeling like a classic, we recommend The Shining (1980), which is set inside the haunted Overlook Hotel and had exterior shots taken at Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood. Another, less scary classic is the Goonies (1985), which was filmed and set in Astoria and Cannon Beach. For a more modern scare, we suggest The Ring (2002), which features a fictional island and lighthouse filmed on the Oregon coast at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport. For a scary animated children’s film, try Coraline (2009), which is set in Ashland and filmed in Hillsboro.  

  1. Halloween Scavenger Hunt 

Go on a Halloween scavenger hunt in your neighborhood, with lists of Halloween-themed items to look for while you walk outdoors or drive, admiring Halloween decorations at a distance. Some ideas for a potential list include: jack-o-lanterns, spider webs, different colored leaves, hay bales, a ghost or a Halloween wreath on a door. 

About Author

Sarah Dean is Willamette University student and a fellow with the Governor's Communications team.

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