How to Keep the Fright Away and Gather Safely This Halloween Season


The time for ghosts, goblins and sticky sweets is approaching faster than you can say “Boo!” Okay, maybe not that fast, but it is time to start preparing for a safe Halloween. Hosting a Halloween party or trick-or-treating this year is doable and doesn’t have to be virtual. But with the highly transmittable Delta variant, it does take a bit of planning and caution. The Oregon Health Authority is sharing ways to help make celebrating the holidays safe this year.

“Make sure you’re vaccinated, that’s number one. Number two, wear a good face covering that is at least two layers thick. A Halloween mask will not do the job.”

Ali Hamade, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) senior health advisor and deputy state epidemiologist

Hamade adds that outdoor gatherings are best because the risk of transmission is much lower than socializing indoors.

Tips for hosting a festive and safe Halloween gathering

  • Host your party outdoors in a space that allows for guests to stay six feet apart.
  • Wear face coverings if you are within six feet of others.
  • Keep the guest list small and stick with vaccinated guests. 
  • Remember, you can’t replace COVID-safe face coverings with costume masks. 
  • If your party takes place during trick-or-treating, please wear a mask when handing out candy. 
  • It’s safest to avoid crowding the food table so that guests can maintain distance from other people. 
  • Wash your hands before and after eating — this includes Halloween candy!

In case guests go inside, be prepared in advance by opening windows and running a fan or air purifier to maximize ventilation. Remind guests that when they are indoors to keep on their masks and physically distance. To read more about safely gathering and doing activities with others, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) here.

Let’s safely trick-or treat!

This year, if you plan to trick-or-treat or hand out candy, please keep these tips in mind for a fun and healthy outing.

  • Get everyone 12 and older vaccinated.
  • Stay outdoors if you gather with people from another household.
  • Keep six feet of distance from the zombie dragons and pirates you pass. Even with the best of intentions, it’s hard to predict whether a child will be able to maintain distance while trick-or-treating.
  • Wear a proper face covering. A plastic costume mask is not a COVID-safe face covering.
  • Remember it’s not safe to wear a costume mask over a face covering, but decorating a child’s face covering might bring an added touch of fun to their costume!
  • Also remember it’s not safe for children younger than two to wear a mask. 
  • Pay attention when going door-to-door. If one house looks a bit crowded with fellow trick-or-treaters, maybe try another house that isn’t as busy.

About Author

Sarah Dean is the Press and Public Engagement Coordinator with the Governor's Communications Office.

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