• Tom Genes

Halloween in The Roaring Fork

Garfield County Public Health staff wants everyone to have a safe and healthy Halloween. It might look a little different this year, but it can still be fun. With the right precautions, families can plan costumes, eat candy, and even create new traditions. Community members have expressed they do not want to see an increase in COVID-19 cases or school quarantines due to Halloween activities.

NOTE: If you are in isolation, quarantine, have been exposed to, or are sick with COVID19, do not participate in any in-person activities, including handing out candy. With a little effort and creativity, there are ways to enjoy this fall tradition while protecting everyone in the community. Trick-or-treating guidance If you choose to trick-or-treat, please consider the health of everyone in the community. Trick or treating outside door-to-door may seem like lower risk, but if a lot of people participate and fail to take precautions, it raises the potential for disease spread. •

Adults should trick-or-treat with kids. Kids may have difficulties remembering to social distance. • Limit time and maintain distance at doorways. • Wash hands and frequently-touched surfaces often. • Unfortunately, costume masks are not a substitute for an approved COVID-19 face covering. Just like preparing a costume that can incorporate a winter coat, plan a costume that incorporates a COVID-safe mask. • Avoid crowds and crowding. •

It’s safer to gather with people who consistently wear masks, keep physical distance, and follow prevention recommendations. Halloween parties • Indoor Halloween parties are discouraged this year. • In some cases, it can be okay to host smaller and carefully organized events that promote safe practices like face coverings, hand washing and social distancing. • These events should be held outdoors, which can be challenging in late October in Colorado. •

Consider projecting a Halloween movie onto the garage door. A small group or kids or families can watch, as long as they are following all precautions. • The number of people that can gather should be determined by a social distancing calculator to ensure that everyone stays six feet apart. Organized church or community events • Adhere to state guidance for your specific event, and see this Halloween guidance for event planners. Consider a ‘hands-off’ period for collected candy • Children’s Hospital experts say one of the safest things you can do is have children wait 48-72 hours before digging into Halloween candy collected trick-or-treating. •

This is because candy is coming from multiple households and mingling together in a bucket or bag. • COVID-19 can survive up to three days on some surfaces. • That is a long time for kids to wait, so parents should consider having a small stash of candy on hand that was purchased ahead of time for kids to enjoy immediately.

Creative ideas • Communicate with your neighbors to plan trick-or-treating this year. • Find ways to hand out candy while keeping appropriate distance. Use a plastic slide, cardboard tubes or plastic pipes to deliver candy from a distance. • Take kids on an outdoor, distanced treasure hunt to look for candy or Halloween items. • Place candy at the end of a driveway or yard’s edge and watch the fun from a distance. • Visit Children’s Hospital of Colorado’s Halloween tips, tricks, and treats page. Helpful Halloween links • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Halloween tips and tricks • Children’s Colorado's tips, tricks (and treats) for celebrating Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic • CDC fall holiday celebration guidance • American Academy of Pediatrics tips for a safe Halloween - 30 -

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