Illinois releases COVID-19 guidance for Halloween, fall activities

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Little girl in witch costume having fun outdoors on Halloween trick or treat.

Aidan Bengford, News Reporter

DeKALB – The Illinois Department of Health updated its guidelines to help people celebrate Halloween and fall safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This Halloween and fall festivities season will look a little different than last year thanks to the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines that are readily available,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a Friday news release. “However, we must still take precautions as not everyone is vaccinated, and a vaccine for children younger than 12 years is not yet available.”

Masks are still required for public indoor settings, per an Executive Order. A costume mask alone, unless it incorporates proper face covering, is not sufficient. It is recommended you wear no costume mask and use a well-fitting mask instead. If you use both, it could become hard to breathe.

Trick or Treat in small groups, and, if possible, do so outdoors. If you can’t do so outdoors, have people open doors and windows to increase ventilation in the building. Make sure to wash your hands if you are handing out or receiving candy. An outdoor costume parade or table setup with individually wrapped candy would be another set of safe options.

Alternatives to an indoor haunted house could be visiting an outdoor haunted woods or haunted walk. If you are indoors, be sure to wear a mask and be wary of the number of people inside. 

Try to visit pumpkin patches, orchards, and festivals at times that aren’t as busy. You can also limit your exposure by moving away from crowded areas and wearing a mask.

For Halloween parties, try to have the parties outdoors since transmission risk is lower. If indoors, masks would be advisable, even in a private setting, when distancing is difficult. Opening windows to increase ventilation would be a good idea too.

For honoring loved ones during Día de Los Muertos, it may be safer to do so outdoors rather than indoors. If celebrating indoors, increase ventilation by opening windows. 

More information on fall Guidance is on the Illinois Department of Public Health website.