Like everything else in 2020, Halloween celebrations will look a little different this year. As cases of COVID-19 continue to be diagnosed, it is important that we keep up the simple precautions that have successfully reduced community spread of the virus in Philadelphia.

Right now, there’s nothing scarier than a surge of COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia. And it’s still possible to enjoy a spooky Halloween season without being terrified of what could happen if we let down our guard.

So #MaskUpPHL, and follow these tips to keep you and your community safe and sound.

Talk with your children

Especially for kids, changes to Halloween can be disappointing. Talk with your children about different ways to celebrate the season, and about staying safe while participating in your household’s chosen activities.

Continue to follow COVID-19 precautions at all times

  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • If you have been in contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19, or has symptoms of COVID-19, stay home.
  • Wear a cloth face covering to prevent disease spread when outside of your home and around others who are not part of your household.
  • Keep activities outdoors.
  • Avoid close contact with others outside of your household. Stay at least 6 feet apart.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and items regularly.

Consider alternatives to trick or treating

To reduce your risk of becoming exposed to someone with COVID-19 and getting sick, the following activities can be safe alternatives:

  • Throw a Halloween party with your household members:
    • Decorate your home.
    • Have a Halloween movie night.
    • Create a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home, rather than going home to home.
  • Celebrate with friends through a virtual Halloween party or contest:
    • Have a virtual Halloween costume contest.
    • Carve and decorate pumpkins.
  • Participate in car parades where individuals remain in their vehicles:
    • Include socially distant judging for a costume contest.
    • Decorate your car with a Halloween theme.

If you plan to participate in trick-or-treating activities

  • Trick or treat with members of your household only.
  • Limit the number of houses you visit.
  • Ask children to stay as far away from the treat-givers as possible.
  • Have an adult hold the candy/bag for smaller children.
  • Only allow children to eat treats that come in their original wrapper.
  • Talk to your neighbors about ways to enjoy Halloween safely, including creative ways to distribute treats like hanging candy from a wall or fence for children to take.
  • Do not use a costume mask in place of a face mask.

For households offering candy to trick or treaters

  • Do not hand out candy if you are sick.
  • Wear a face mask.
  • Use duct tape or Halloween décor to mark a 6-foot line from where you will be stationed.
  • Do one-way trick or treating:
  • Put candy on a table, wall, or fence for children to take.
  • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands before preparing the bags.
  • Wash hands with soap and water often.

For operators of events/attractions

  • Follow all state and local guidelines regarding event size (25 people indoors, 150 people outdoors).
  • Provide masks and hand sanitizer.
  • Hold events outside or in large spaces that allow for physical distancing. See Guidance for Outdoor Performances and Events.
  • Consider limiting common seating areas or play areas where people may congregate.
  • Notify the Philadelphia Department of Public Health at 215-685-5488 or if you learn that someone with COVID-19 has worked at or visited your event/attraction.