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Risk levels for popular Halloween activities

From trick-or-treating to going to a haunted house, a WashU doctor broke down the risks involved in several popular Halloween activities

ST. LOUIS — From candy shoots, to virtual costume contests and face masks for everyone – not just those wearing dressing up – Halloween 2020 will be unlike any other due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the changes in our everyday life, popular Halloween traditions are still happening.

Trick-or-treating hasn’t been canceled, though the CDC suggests making some changes to the normal routine. Pumpkin patches are still selling gourds for you to carve at home. And haunted houses are still spooking thrill seekers.

But, how risky are these activities?

5 On Your Side reached out to health experts at Washington University to help break down the risks of several popular Halloween activities.

Dr. Andrew Janowski, who’s a Washington University infectious disease specialist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, ranked activities on a scale of 0-10. He evaluated each activity based on “zero” being a no-risk activity (quarantining at home) and “10” being the highest-risk activity (taking care of a COVID-19 patient without personal protective equipment).

READ ALSO: Charts rank COVID-19 risk involved in more than 60 activities | View lists

Bottom line: masks and social distancing greatly decrease the chances of contracting COVID-19, Dr. Janowski’s rankings show.

Going to a corn maze or pumpkin patch and carving pumpkins outside were the safest activities. Dr Janowski evaluated each of those at a “1” with safety measures and a “4” without them.

The riskiest activities – even while wearing a mask – were going to an indoor Halloween party and going to a haunted house.

Trick-or-treating activities were on the lower end of the risk-level chart, as long as masks are worn and social distancing can be maintained.

Dr. Janowski rated trick-or-treating with your household or at a trunk-or-treat event as a “3” on a scale of 0-10. Both of those doubled to “6” without safety measures. Trick-or-treating with friends or those outside your home slightly elevated the risk.

You can see the full Halloween activities ranking chart in the graphic below.

Credit: KSDK

For more information on steps you can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 while also participating in Halloween activities, visit the CDC’s website.

Dr. Janowski and the team at WashU compiled an extensive list of 128 activities ranging from everyday errands to various activities related to school, work and beyond. You can explore the interactive chart online here.

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