The apocalyptic atmosphere is already set, and masks are required anyway — 2020 has been full of tricks, so you definitely deserve all the treats. The holidays won't be the same this year, but as long as you put as much thought into your party as you do your costume, you can still safely celebrate Halloween during COVID.
"Holidays are a great opportunity for individuals to show off their creativity," says Dr. Sanjeev Jain, M.D., a doctor double-board certified in immunology and internal medicine at Columbia Asthma and Allergy Clinic. Halloween COVID safety rules are the same that you venture into the world with every day, he tells Bustle — maintain six feet of distance and wear your mask whenever you're around people you're not quarantining with. Other guidelines for party safety depend on exactly what kind of festivities you're trying to throw.
Can I Go To A Halloween Party During COVID?
Your local bar may be hosting a monster mash, but Dr. Jain says that just because you can attend doesn't mean you should. "Parties that will draw in crowds and are not likely to enforce social distancing should be avoided at this time," he tells Bustle. Indoor public places, which include bars and frat houses (yes, even when they have a little bit of outdoor space), or even gatherings at someone's house are all places where the virus can spread, particularly if people aren't wearing face masks under their Zombie masks. If you or trusted friends won't have control over the number of guests, their social distance, or mask etiquette, know that it's a high-risk situation.
"All social gatherings pose some level of risk when it comes to contracting and transmitting COVID," Dr. Jain cautions, but not all social events are created equal. "If you are choosing to attend a social gathering, a small outdoor gathering would likely be the safest option," he says. Make sure everyone who doesn't live together maintains at least six feet of distance and wears masks. Make the party BYO-everything to make sure that people aren't sharing dishes and utensils, but Dr. Jain says that if you do want to bring goodies to share, it's best to keep them pre-packaged in individual servings. (Another reason to keep the guest list small.)
How To Have A Zoom Halloween Party
"The safest option would be to do a virtual Halloween party," Dr. Jain tells Bustle. If you're running low on inspiration, just remember that a rousing round of Among Us can definitely count as All Hallows' Eve-themed. Supplement your online hangout with pumpkin-y recipes that you've shared with each other ahead of time, or see who can bring the best costume to the Zoom room. Dr. Jain also suggests some Halloween-themed trivia, because really, who doesn't want to have another excuse to re-watch the creepiest episodes of Doctor Who?
Can You Trick Or Treat During The Pandemic?
If you do a little bit of planning ahead, Dr. Jain says, you can have your Halloween cake and eat it, too. To keep your required six feet of distance while trick-or-treating, he advises making sure to only pick up pre-packaged candies from homes that are leaving out the good stuff for you to get from a distance. Have a pre-holiday chat with your neighbors about if, how, and when they plan to leave candy out so that you can make sure to be able to snag some while avoiding a crowd. Don't know your neighbors like that? Opt for a socially distant candy exchange with trusted friends or family members instead.
Dr. Sanjeev Jain, M.D., doctor double-board certified in immunology and internal medicine, Columbia Asthma and Allergy Clinic