Guidance for Halloween Safety
Health and Safety protocols for Halloween-related activities in the City of St. Louis.
These guidelines, effective October 1, 2020, establish guidelines for Halloween-related activities in the City of St. Louis. As we receive additional information about respiratory illness (COVID-19, influenza, etc.) trends in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis Region, and as more scientific and clinical information becomes available on the impact of COVID-19 in youth, these guidelines may be replaced or modified by the City of St. Louis Department of Health.
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Halloween is a time of wonder and excitement for both children and adults, as it lends the opportunity to pretend to be someone (or something) else. Maybe it’s a character from a comic or tv/movie, a professional sports player, or an important figure in their lives. This chance to enjoy an escape from day-to-day activities may look different this year due to COVID-19, but it can still be possible with preventative measures. Taking some additional steps is necessary to protect your health, that of your family and the community at large.
Neighborhood trick or treating
Parents or guardians who intend to take their child(ren) trick-or-treating need to practice social distancing, masking, and proper handwashing to protect everyone’s health and safety. Please follow these guidelines for Halloween-related events.
- Only persons who live in the same household should trick or treat together and maintain 6 feet social distance from other trick or treaters at all times. If you find that a street becomes too crowded, it is safest to find a different area or another option. No more than 6 in a group.
- All trick or treaters and their parents/guardians must be masked at all times.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be carried and used frequently.
- Homes wanting to participate can leave individually wrapped candy or treats at the front of their lawns or driveways, preferably on a table spread out.
- Homeowners should wash their hands with soap and water and clean the table surface before placing the candy on the table and when replenishing.
- Those passing out candy are free to enjoy the trick or treaters from at least 6 feet away and masked.
- Children should be instructed not to eat any candy until they’ve arrived home and washed their hands with soap and water.
- Once home, children need to wash their hands with soap and water. It would be safest to wait until the candy is inspected by an adult. A parent/guardian should assess the candy to make sure all packages were left wrapped, discarding any unwrapped candy.
- Children should be encouraged to practice good dental hygiene.
- The parent or guardian should practice good dental hygiene as well.
- For apartment buildings, events should not occur inside the building.
- For areas where homes do not have driveways/lawns, local areas are encouraged to schedule community trick or treating with staggered entry times throughout the day in different parts of the community either with drive-through or trunk or treating.
Socially Distant Trunk or Treat Check List
Drive-by events may also be an alternative where children dress up and are driven to the event by their parents/guardians with limited numbers and adherence with masking, social distancing and hand hygiene. Sacks of candy could be loaded into the trunk of each vehicle. Children should wash their hands with soap and water before they are allowed to consume candy.
In large parking lots, with adherence to social/physical distancing requirements, tables could be pre-set up and children allowed to parade around with parent/guardian while maintaining at least 6 feet social/physical distancing and masking at all times. A limited number of persons should staff the event and keep tables replenished and monitor social distancing. Children should wash their hands with soap and water before they are allowed to consume candy.
- Recruit a set number of cars.
- Create a timed entry schedule to determine your attendance limit.
- Create a map of where cars will be with plenty of space between.
- Advertise with information about reserved time slots, social distancing and mask-wearing.
- Package candies or little favors in treat bags for easy distribution.
- Create signage to direct the flow of traffic.
- Draw markers on the ground to keep social distancing.
- Mask Up and Enjoy
Things You Need for a Trunk or Treat Event During COVID
- Social Distancing Signage and Directional Arrows or sidewalk chalk.
- Individually wrapped treats.
- Prepackaged goodie bags to distribute treats or trinkets.
- Disposable masks.
- Sanitization stations.
- Trunk or Treat car decorations.
Other Types of Events Allowed During COVID
- Virtual Halloween parties, giving children the opportunity to show costumes off to family and friends while socially distancing.
- Hayrides or tractor rides. Limit the number of riders to 10 or less (at a time). Riders must adhere to local restrictions for face coverings and social/physical distancing. Organizers shall limit the time customers linger in the area around the hayrides to 30 minutes.
- Halloween scavenger hunts, 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.
Types of Events NOT Encouraged During COVID
- Parties, large or small, including neighborhood or family gatherings (with persons who live outside of the immediate household).
- Large school events; In-person schools may consider small classroom parties without a parent and volunteer involvement.
- Indoor haunted houses, where people may be crowded together and screaming.
- Gatherings in residential halls, sorority/fraternity houses, or in common areas on college campuses.
- Traveling to rural fall festivals where COVID-19 mitigation measures are not enforced.
- Visiting stores for costume purchases. Consider purchasing costumes online or using items already at home to create a costume.
Following the Celebrations
If you participated in high-risk activities or think you may have become exposed:
- Take extra precautions for 14 days including staying home as much as possible
- Limit interactions with those with an increased risk of severe illness
- Consider taking a COVID-19 test
If you become symptomatic or if you test positive for COVID-19, contact the host and others who attended the celebration you attended. Contact your healthcare provider and follow CDC guidance on what to do if you become sick.
- If you have been identified as a close contact to a positive COVID-19 patient, quarantine for a minimum of 14 days, even if you show no symptoms.
- If you are waiting on COVID-19 test results, quarantine at home as you wait for the results.
- If your result is positive, you will be contacted by the Department of Health or the public health agency within the jurisdiction where you live.
- You will be asked about your health and who you have been in close contact with, and where you have visited to identify other persons who may need to quarantine. Your information is confidential.
If you host an event and are notified by an attendee who has symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, contact the City of St. Louis Department of Health at 314-657-1499 or email Health@stlouis-mo.gov for additional guidance.
- CDC COVID-19: Holiday Celebrations. Last Updated September 21, 2020.
- Halloween Guidance. Illinois Department of Public Health.
Released September 30, 2020.
- Restore Illinois Phase 4 Guidelines – FAQ for Businesses and Mitigation Measures FAQ. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Updated September 25, 2020.