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The Review

COVID-19 Considerations for Halloween

Posted On: Friday, October 2, 2020

This document provides guidance on safety precautions to take for trick or treating and Halloween. Please note: the provincial government may develop their own messaging in response to an increase in provincial case numbers. In the event that this change effects our message, this document will be adjusted as needed – please check in regularly for updates to this document.

COVID-19 Considerations for Halloween

Halloween traditions, including trick or treating, are important activities for mental and social wellbeing. Many of us 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. The following recommendations can 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. Remember to stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill or have symptoms of COVID-19.

Gathering Limits On September 19, 2020 the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Public Health Measures Table, reduced limits on the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored and private social gatherings across the entire province. Unmonitored and private social gatherings include functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.

The new limit on the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored private social gathering across the province is:

  • 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or
  • 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100).

Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together. Gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted. The new limits do not apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events.

Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures for these businesses and facilities, continue to be in effect. For more information see the news release Ontario Limits the Size of Unmonitored and Private Social Gatherings across Entire Province. For information about Stage 3 see A Framework for Reopening our Province Stage 3.

Social circles should continue to be kept at 10 people province-wide. A social circle is a group of up to 10 of the same people who can interact with one another without physical distancing. Social circles can help to reduce social isolation and support mental health and wellbeing. To learn more about creating a social circle, visit the Create a social circle during COVID-19 webpage.

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. 
  • Host your own monster mash outdoors. Include those from your social bubble.
  • Make your own spooky treats like clementine jack-o-lanterns, monster mix, or ghostly cookies.
  • Have kids help decorate, making a Halloween playlist, carving pumpkins, painting decorations, making paper chains and other crafts 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 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
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