Halloween trick or treating will happen in Illinois during a pandemic- with recommended safety protocols.
The Illinois Department of Health released guidance on Wednesday for how families can celebrate Halloween keeping the safety and social distancing top of mind, including how to trick or treat. It also provided recommendations for those who are passing out candy. (Spoiler alert: wear masks, and stay 6-feet apart. Of course, there’s more to it.)
As chambanamoms.com reported last month, several Champaign-Urbana area municipalities were awaiting guidance before proceeding with setting trick or treating hours or making other plans for community celebrations; only a few had set hours or put together Halloween events.
“One of the hallmarks of holidays and celebrations is gathering with friends, family and loved ones,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We are still in a pandemic, and unfortunately, this year, that means the safest way to celebrate is to stay home and plan virtual gatherings. That said, IDPH recognizes that some who will choose to gather together anyway, and instead of denying that reality, we are issuing guidance and recommendations for safer ways to celebrate together in person.”
Here are the recommendations from IDPH:
If you’ve never lived in this area during Halloween, or haven’t trick or treated before in the Champaign-Urbana area, you might not be familiar with the process in most local communities: trick or treating hours are set by each village, city and/or municipality. Many of those have not been released yet; the village of Mahomet just announced its hours to be 6 pm-8 pm on October 31, 2020. (Look for a full list of hours published here later this month.)
IDPH trick-or-treating recommendations:
- Anyone participating in trick-or-treating, including those passing out candy, should maintain 6-feet of social distance and wear proper face coverings.
- Consider leaving individually wrapped candy (spaced apart) on a table in driveways or in front of walkways, sidewalks, or any outdoor space where 6-feet of distance can be maintained.
- A Halloween costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. Ensure that breathing is not impaired if a cloth mask is worn under a costume mask. If so, discard the costume mask.
- Trick-or-treat in groups with household members only.
- Candy collected during trick-or-treating should not be eaten until after handwashing.
- Explain to your trick-or-treater the importance of following a few basic ground rules for trick-or-treating this year. Your trick-or treater should not be digging around a candy bowl and touching multiple pieces. Explain to them they should point to the piece they would like to have. While it’s hard to ask kids not to run around the streets and sidewalks during this event, you should ask them to stay as far away from people as they can outside of your household and explain the importance of social distancing even when outside.
- Put hand sanitizer out: While trick-or-treaters should keep a portable bottle of hand sanitizer with them, you should also consider putting out a pump bottle for those who are need of it, including yourself.
- Hand out goodies instead of letting children grab them: To minimize contamination and to keep trick-or-treaters moving, hand out the treats yourself so you are the only person with their hand in the dish. Please do not leave bowls of candy outside for multiple people to touch.
- Need a scare? IDPH recommends open-air, one-way haunted forests or haunted walks where 6-feet of distance can be maintained and face coverings are used. (There will be a haunted drive thru happening in Farmer City, as well as a haunted walk at the Harvest Moon Drive-in Gibson City; expect more events like that to pop up.)
- Halloween haunted houses currently are not allowed in Restore Illinois Phase 4 Guidelines.
Pumpkin patches, orchards and hayrides
- Cloth face coverings and social distancing should be enforced.
- Use hand sanitizer before handling pumpkins, apples, and other produce.
- Hayrides should not exceed 50% capacity with parties spaced at least six feet apart.
- Wear face coverings at all times when around people not from your household.
All IDPH Halloween guidance can be found on the IDPH website.