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Santa Cruz County, Bay Area health officers release joint guidance for Halloween, Día de Los Muertos

halloween dia de los muertos

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Health officials from Santa Cruz County and other parts of the Bay Area have released guidance for celebrating Halloween and Día de Los Muertos safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The health officials say focusing on decorations, limiting interaction between people who do not live together and hosting virtual parties or contests could be safe ways to celebrate.

Lower Risk

Activities that are considered lower risk involve staying home and keeping the celebrations small. Health officials suggest:

  • Carving pumpkins
  • Scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat searches at home
  • Visiting an outdoor pumpkin patch while wearing a mask and maintaining distance
  • Virtual costume contests
  • Decorating homes and living spaces
  • Preparing traditional family recipes
  • Playing music that deceased loved ones enjoyed
  • Making and decorating masks or making an altar
  • Drive-in or drive-thru attractions

Moderate Risk

Health officials said these activities can be done "if you must," but they are considered somewhat higher risk than others. They include:

  • One-way trick-or-treating by lining up grab and go bags at the end of a driveway or yard
  • Small, outdoor, open-air costume parades or movie nights while maintaining distance and wearing masks
  • Themed outdoor dining

When participating in one-way trick-or-treating, health officials suggest washing hands before and after preparing bags, making sure everyone is wearing a face covering and maintaining distance, bringing hand sanitizer when participating and waiting to eat candy until returning home.

Higher Risk

Health officials are asking people to avoid these activities:

  • Traditional trick-or-treating
  • Traveling to an event outside your community

Traveling outside of your community could potentially spread COVID-19 to other communities. Those who do not want to be disturbed when trick-or-treating is happening in their neighborhoods can post a sign or turn off the porch light.

Very High Risk

These activities are not allowed under state and local health orders:

  • Attending crowded indoor or outdoor parties
  • Sharing, eating, drinking, speaking loudly or singing around people outside your household
  • Haunted houses or indoor mazes
  • Trunk-or-treat events in which treats are handed out from trunks of cars in parking lots

Health officials ask that people stay home if they feel sick or if they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, wear a face covering when outside of the home and keep distance from those who do not live in the same household.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.


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