The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is recommending against traditional trick-or-treat this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Going house-to-house and having in-person contact is not recommended,” according to the department’s “COVID-19 Staying safe in your community” webpage.
If individual communities decide to schedule traditional trick-or-treating times, DHS suggests that a safer way to host trick-or-treaters is to leave individual treat bags on the porch for kids to pick up, and to watch and wave from inside the house.
“Even though being outside decreases the risk, being in close contact with people you don’t live with increases the risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19,” the department’s guidance says.
In a year that has seen event after event canceled as a result of the pandemic, many parents (and kids) have been holding out hope for a traditional Halloween, especially with trick-or-treating being held outdoors.
Some Wisconsin communities have scheduled trick-or-treat times as usual, with suggestions for health precautions. Many others, including the City of Milwaukee, have said they’re conferring with local health departments before making a decision.
At least one community in Wisconsin, Antigo, has already canceled.
In addition to trick-or-treat, DHS is also recommending that people avoid:
- large outdoor gatherings such as parties, festivals and parades
- indoor parties and celebrations
- happy hours or socializing at bars
The health department’s suggestions for safe Halloween celebrations include virtual costume contests, treat-baking within families, at-home or online scary movie watching and drive-through haunted houses.