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St. Louis, St. Charles counties release Halloween safety tips

Health departments in both counties give tips on how to safely celebrate the holiday amid the coronavirus pandemic
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Halloween is just around the corner and you may be wondering how you’ll be able to celebrate the holiday safely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The St. Louis County Department of Public Health has released some advice to help residents assess the risk of Halloween-related activities.

The health department created a chart to show the level of risk for each activity. Green events are considered safe, yellow means to use caution and red means they are high risk.

Green (low-risk activities) include:

  • Home decorating
  • Pumpkin-carving at home
  • Putting on a candy scavenger hunt on your property for family members
  • Watching Halloween movies or playing online games virtually with friends
  • Putting on virtual costume parties
  • Hosting virtual family get-togethers
  • Leaving individual portions of wrapped candy outside

Yellow (activities with risk) include:

  • Small group gatherings outdoors, with participants socially distanced and wearing masks
  • Outdoor mazes, with socially distanced and masked participants (avoid screaming, as it can easily spread the coronavirus)
  • Drive-thru trunk-or-treat events
  • Leaving individual portions of candy on a porch or table outside for passers-by

Red (high-risk activities) include:

  • Any indoor gathering
  • Large outdoor gatherings
  • Traditional, door-to-door trick-or-treating
  • Celebrating in restaurants or bars that don’t provide for sufficient social distancing
  • Public haunted houses

Any large, public event including block parties, haunted houses and other holiday gatherings must submit a safety plan to the department and have it approved before opening. To submit a safety plan, email business-covid@stlouisco.com.

RELATED: How you can safely celebrate Halloween in St. Louis this year

The St. Charles County Department of Public Health also released tips for celebrating the holiday.

The department said it is joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in issuing recommendations focused on reducing the risks of spreading the virus.

“Following recommended precautions during Halloween festivities will help to make the risk for spreading COVID-19 less scary,” Department of Public Health Director Demetrius Cianci-Chapman said. “Parents need to have conversations with their kids about the importance of following the recommendations to socially distance, wash hands, avoid commonly touched surfaces and wear masks.”

The department released these tips for lower risk trick-or-treating:

  • Decorating neighborhood homes for the holiday and hosting a drive-by parade to view the decorations.
  • Planning a photo scavenger hunt around the neighborhood, virtual costume contest or stay-in scary movie night with your family.
  • Gathering with your immediate family or a small group of individuals that you know have successfully practiced social distancing and limiting the number of places your group visits.
  • Wearing disposable or cloth masks at all times. Incorporate decorated face coverings into costumes, as traditional costume masks are not an appropriate substitute for protective face coverings.
  • Giving pre-bagged treats that kids can pick up themselves on a socially distanced table in a driveway or yard, as opposed to handing out individual treats at the door.
  • Washing hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer regularly when collecting or distributing treats.
  • Hosting or attending outdoor activities with social distancing and mask-wearing enforced, as opposed to crowded, poorly ventilated indoor events.
  • Any individual who is sick, is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, is awaiting test results, or may have been exposed to the virus stays home and avoids contact with others.

For more information on St. Charles County’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, click here. For questions about symptoms or testing, call the St. Charles County COVID-19 hotline at 636-949-1899.

RELATED: CDC discouraging traditional Halloween trick-or-treating this year due to COVID-19