With October upon us, you’re probably dusting off your decorations and gearing up for Halloween celebrations. But with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, things will look a bit different this fall. Since Halloween parties are often crowded and held indoors, you might be wondering if it’s safe to go to a Halloween party during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s what experts have to say about spooky festivities this October.
As of Sept. 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against high-risk activities, like indoor costume parties or traveling outside of your community to attend a celebration. Any sort of outdoor festivity with small groups is considered a moderate risk, including a socially-distanced outdoor Halloween party. Dr. Neha Nanda, M.D., Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Antimicrobial Stewardship at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, tells Elite Daily any gathering comes with risk. "You do remain at risk of acquiring the infection the more you come in contact with people," she says. Nanda believes people can still celebrate, but you should get creative. "Everybody has to [be innovative]," she says.
While Nanda "highly recommend[s] considering a virtual scenario when possible," there are steps you can take to make an in-person gathering safer. Nanda suggests holding a "very small group [gathering, where you can be very disciplined about COVID safety] measures." She adds, "We still have to continue to [wear a] mask, [ensure] physical distancing, and be outdoors when possible."
Dr. Amesh Adalja, M.D., F.I.D.S.A., an expert on emerging infectious diseases, pandemic preparedness, and biosecurity at Johns Hopkins University, previously told Elite Daily, "No event is without risk," and you should consider your risk factors before going to an in-person celebration. "Realize we are still in a pandemic and simple measures can decrease the risk of disease transmission and acquisition," Adalja says.
One simple measure you can take, according to Nanda, is to only invite those closest to you. "You can discipline yourself and your loved ones as to how [to] behave in that setting," she says. "Wherever the [COVID-19] numbers are rising, you don't want to consider in-person parties," Nanda warns.
If you attend an outdoors Halloween party, Adalja stresses the importance of following all coronavirus safety precautions: physical distancing, hand-washing, avoiding crowded areas, and wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth. According to Nanda, "[It will] come down to being a good citizen. Make sure you're not sick or that you haven't been in contact with anyone who's sick." She also recommends getting a flu vaccine before attending a gathering for an extra precaution.
While there are steps you can take to make in-person gatherings safer, Nanda still suggests to "still consider doing everything remotely." The CDC suggests low-risk activities like carving or decorating pumpkins with your household or hosting a virtual Halloween costume contest.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Elite Daily's coverage of coronavirus here.
Dr. Neha Nanda, M.D., Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Antimicrobial Stewardship at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine
Dr. Amesh Adalja, M.D., F.I.D.S.A, expert on emerging infectious diseases, pandemic preparedness, and biosecurity at Johns Hopkins University