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Pima County discourages trick-or-treating, attending Halloween parties due to COVID-19 pandemic

TUCSON (KVOA) - From getting spooked at haunted house attractions to picking up mounds of sweet goodies while trick-or-treating, Halloween is typically a time of fun and thrill in the Old Pueblo.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic canceling various Hallows' Eve festivities across the country, Pima County Health Department released a few guidelines to help keep residents safe while celebrating the creepy holiday.

“The entire 2020 holiday season will look different this year,” Dr. Theresa Cullen, Director of the Health Department, said. “I encourage everyone to have fun, but do so safely. Regardless of how you choose to celebrate Halloween, it is important to continue to wear facemasks, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer, and follow physical distancing.”

PCHD released the following recommendations for residents to avoid participating in this Halloween to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

  • Halloween gatherings, events or parties with non-household members – remember, the fewer people you interact with the better you control your exposure.
  • Carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, and haunted house attractions – even when outdoors, these events require close contact with others and frequent close contact for staff working at those events. If a celebration is held, it should adhere to Gov. Doug Ducey’s Executive Order 2020-43 restricting public gatherings to fewer than 50 people and requiring the maintenance of physical distancing.
  • Door-to-door trick or treating - It is difficult to maintain proper physical distancing on porches and at front doors, and sharing food is risky whether reaching into a shared candy bowl or being given candy by hand.
  • “Trunk or Treat” events - where children go from car to car instead of door to door to receive treats – even though it is outside, it is difficult to avoid crowding and contamination in candy bowls.

Despite these recommendations, PCHD said there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday while limiting exposure to the new coronavirus.

The options are listed below.

  • Online parties/contests such as costume or pumpkin carving
  • Car parades that comply with public health guidance for vehicle-based parades including:
    • Drive-by events or contests where individuals dress up or decorate their vehicles and drive by “judges” who are appropriately physically distanced.
    • Drive-through events where individuals remain in their vehicles and drive through an area with Halloween displays.
    • Drive-in events where individuals can receive a treat bag – limited to commercially packaged, non-perishable treats – or a take away item from an organizer with appropriate PPE while the participants remain in their vehicle.
  • Halloween movie nights at drive-in theaters, which must comply with the public health drive-in movie theater guidance.
  • Halloween-themed meals at outdoor restaurants that comply with the restaurant protocol.
  • Dressing up homes and yards with Halloween-themed decorations.

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Anthony Victor Reyes

Anthony Victor Reyes is the lead digital content producer at News 4 Tucson. The award-winning journalist previously worked as a community reporter in Jasper County, Iowa.

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