Tips for Halloween – assuming it goes ahead in 2020

With Halloween just around the corner, there have no plans announced to cancel it, as yet.  According to Public Health, Halloween traditions, including trick or treating, are important activities for mental and social well-being.

While many look forward to participating in Halloween-themed special events or gatherings, it is strongly recommended that individuals maintain physical distance between themselves and people outside of their household or social circle.

Public Health has also offered several recommendations to provide some guidance on how you and your family and friends can safely celebrate Halloween during COVID-19. Additional guidance from the Province of Ontario is anticipated on this topic in the near future however.

Consider other ways to connect with family and friends outside of your household

  • Call or video chat with family and friends instead of in-person gatherings.
  • Have an online costume party or celebration.
  • Send a Halloween-themed letter or card.
  • Arrange for contactless delivery of spooky crafts or tricks and treats with friends and family.

Why not celebrate at Home?

  • Host your own monster mash outdoors with those from your social bubble.
  • Make your own spooky treats like clementine jack-o-lanterns, monster mix, or ghostly cookies.
  • Have kids help decorate, make a Halloween playlist, carve pumpkins, paint decorations, make paper chains and take part in other crafts that are great activities for different ages.
  • Set up a scavenger hunt filled with tricks and treats inside or outdoors.
  • Pick out some Halloween themed books to read together.

If you do gather to celebrate, follow provincial Orders on public and social gatherings that mandate the number of people who may gather. On September 19, 2020 unmonitored and private social gathering limits were reduced to 10 people for indoor gatherings and 25 people for outdoor gatherings.  Consider gathering outdoors instead of inside when possible. Indoor gathering limits apply to events that are fully or partially indoors. Indoor events and gatherings cannot be combined with an outdoor event or gathering to increase the applicable gathering size. Individuals are still required to maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres with people from outside their households or social circles. Arrange the set-up and seating of the event to support physical distancing.

If you participate in Trick or Treating at Home:

  • Set up a trick or treating station outside or just inside your garage or outside your door. Maintain a physical distance of 2 m from others, setting up a table can help with this.
  • Portion treats out ahead of time to allow for touchless trick-or-treating. When trick-or-treaters arrive direct them to take a portion without handling any others.
  • Have non-food treats for children with allergies (visit Food Allergy Canada for more information on managing allergies at Halloween).
  • Clean and disinfect any frequently touched surfaces often.

Going Door-to-Door:  Try to maintain a physical distance from others while trick-or-treating. Choose a costume that makes wearing a mask or face covering easy. Make sure your mask fits well and covers your nose, mouth, and chin. Wash your hands before trick or treating, when you return home, and before snacking. Bring hand sanitizer with you.  Consider not touching the treats collected for 24 hours. Have some ready-to enjoy favourites set aside for when you return home.

Remember the usual Halloween safety practices, dress for the weather conditions, wear reflectors, watch for traffic, and check over all treats before eating.

For more safety tips, videos, and resources for parents, caregivers, and drivers visit Parachute Canada or Health Canada. Health Canada also has information on Halloween Food Safety available on their website.