With Halloween just around the corner, the New River Valley Public Health Task Force reminds individuals of all ages to follow the CDC recommended guidelines for holiday celebrations. Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses and while area localities do not regulate Halloween, there are numerous, alternative ways to participate, be safe and have fun.
The following is a list of activities in order of least, moderate, and highest risk according to the CDC. Citizens are encouraged to seek out opportunities to celebrate within their own families or congregational units, or within small neighborhood pods.
Lower risk activities
- Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
- Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
- Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
- Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
- Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house
Moderate risk activities
- Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard). If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.
- Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart
- Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart. A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face. Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
- Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than 6 feet apart If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus. Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus. Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cookouts.
Higher risk activities
Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:
- Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
- Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
- Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
- Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
- Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
- Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19
Still undecided on what to do? Check out one of the following Halloween events in your community.
SAFE AND FUN HALLOWEEN EVENTS
Town of Blacksburg
Halloween Trick or Treat Drive-Thru
Friday, October 30, 4-6 p.m.
Blacksburg Community Center, 725 Patrick Henry Drive
Dress up as your favorite character and gather lots of treats from spooky characters while you stay in your car. The event is for elementary school aged children and all health and safety guidelines will be followed.
Oak Lane Costume Caravan for Community Children and Families
Sunday, Oct. 25, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Virginia Tech Fraternity and Sorority Life and the Panhellenic Council invite community families with children to participate in the Oak Lane Costume Caravan.
Participants are encouraged to dress in costume, decorate their car, and drive through the loop of Oak Lane during this event. Along the route, fraternity and sorority houses will be decorated for Halloween and students from Virginia Tech fraternities and sororities will stand in costume to wave at the families and children driving through the loop. All Virginia Tech students will be wearing face coverings and will remain 6 feet apart, and there will be no physical contact or direct exchange of candy or other goodies along the drive-through. At the end of the route, each child will receive a pre-packaged bag of nut-free individually wrapped candy and treats through a special contact-less delivery system directly to their vehicle.
All adult participants (drivers and passengers) are asked to wear face coverings throughout the event, and everyone must remain in their vehicle at all times. Volunteers and staff working the event will be wearing face coverings and appropriate personal protective equipment and will wash or sanitize hands regularly. For more information, contact Fraternity & Sorority Life at (540) 231-6609 or visit fsl.vt.edu.
Town of Christiansburg
Night Full of Fright: Trick or Treat Drive-Thru
Saturday, October 31, 5-7 p.m.
Christiansburg Recreation Center Parking Lot, 1600 N. Franklin Street
Wear your best costumes and enjoy some goodies from the safety of your car. Drive through some fun Halloween decorations while listening to spooky music, and check out vehicles and equipment from Public Works, Police, Rescue and Fire. All treats will be pre-packaged, and current safety guidelines will be followed. Please note this event will occur rain or shine, while supplies last.
Virtual Ghostly Gala Halloween Costume Contest
Children 12 and under are invited to email a picture donning their Halloween costume from now through October 31 to email@example.com, along with parent and child’s name and child’s age. The winner will be announced on Monday, Nov. 2 at https://www.facebook.com/mcparksrec
City of Radford
Saturday, October 31, 3-5 p.m.
Radford Recreation Center
All treats will be pre-packaged and safety guidelines will be followed, while supplies last. Come with your vehicle decorated for Halloween, while seeing spooky decorations, and then turn the corner to receive no tricks, just treats from staff in appropriate PPE.
Town of Pulaski
Virtual Costume Contest
For details visit https://www.pulaskitown.org/news/what_s_new/announcement_on_town_halloween_events or call 540-994-8600.
Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce
Drive-Thru Treat Trail
Oct. 31 4:00-7:00 p.m., Randolph Park
DON’T FORGET THE THREE W’S
Watch your distance
Wear a face covering
Wash your hands
For additional information:
Community Relations Manager
Town of Blacksburg
Assistant Vice President for University Relations
Public Information Coordinator
City of Radford
Public Relations Director
Town of Christiansburg
Jennifer Tatum Harris
Public Information Director