While local governments do not regulate Halloween activity locally, Oak Ridge city officials on Tuesday issued a few health safety tips amid the COVID-19 pandemic and offered up some alternatives to celebrating Halloween. While the messsage was directed at Oak Ridge residents, this advice can be followed by anyone.
The city notes that many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. If you may have COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), these are some low-risk activities:
- Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household or outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
- Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt outdoors, admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
- Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
If you wish to trick-or-treat, the CDC recommends 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 seconds before and after preparing the bags.
A costume mask should not be used as a primary face mask 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. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
In addition to health safety measures, remember to bring a flashlight or wear reflective clothing so drivers and other trick-or-treaters can spot you, look for ‘flame resistant’ on costume labels before buying, and be sure shoes fit well and costumes are short enough to prevent tripping.
In Oak Ridge, the Recreation and Parks Department will host a drive-through Children’s Halloween Party (Halloween Hollow) on Thursday, Oct. 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Oak Ridge Civic Center. More information on the event and Halloween safety can be found at OakRidgeTN.gov.
The city of LaFollette has also announced that they will hold a Trun-or-Treat on Halloween (Saturday, Oct. 31) from 5 to 8 pm in the parking lot behind City Hall at 207 South Tennessee Avenue.
As we learn of more alternative Halloween events, we will pass them along to you.