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Should Halloween be canceled?

The CDC recently weighed in on an issue it has never before addressed: whether or not Halloween traditions should go on as usual in 2020. 

Girl trick-or-treating
The CDC recently recommended against “high-risk” activities like trick-or-treating this Halloween. (Source: Adobe Stock)

According to reports, the agency’s guidance came in response to requests from members of Congress, who wanted a list of official government recommendations for minimizing coronavirus spread during Halloween activities. The resulting guidelines, issued in mid-September, are – like most every other rule or procedure involving the coronavirus to date – proving controversial. 

Like it or not, though, the main focus of the CDC’s statement was that upcoming holidays, including Halloween and Thanksgiving, will “need to be different this fall to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19,” and that Americans should “consider fun alternatives” to traditional celebrations.

Unfortunately, the activities listed as highest-risk by the CDC are also those considered the most fun. These include door-to-door trick-or-treating in neighborhoods; “trunk-or-treat” events held outside in parking lots; indoor costume parties and haunted houses, and hayrides or other large fall festival events.

The CDC guidance also provided a number of alternate Halloween activities which it classified as lower risk. A few of these are placing “goodie bags” at the edge of driveways or yards for kids to pick up; carving or decorating pumpkins to display at home; holding Halloween scavenger hunts with small groups of children while socially distanced, and having virtual costume contests. 

All Halloween festivities should be enjoyed while staying 6 feet apart from others, the guidance stated, with one notable exception: “If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised.”

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