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Trick-or-treating on the back burner? Residents question Halloween festivities as pandemic continues

Many Forsyth County residents are wondering how they can celebrate Halloween safely this year as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues into October. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently came out with guidelines for upcoming Fall holidays, including Halloween, noting which holiday activities may put families at a lower risk of exposure to the virus. 

The CDC put traditional trick-or-treating, where families go door to door to get their sweet treats, into the highest risk category, forcing some families to question how they may change up their traditions this year.  

Resident Rachel Lauders said that she and her family usually go to her parents’ home for Halloween, decking out their garage with decorations and scares. With COVID-19 cases on the rise, however, they decided they will not celebrate this October. 

“We’re taking off this year because their health is more important to us,” Lauders said. 

Others are finding ways that they can still hand out candy to kids who decide to trick-or-treat while still staying safe and away from crowds in their own home. 

Both Tracey Harrity and Janet Rahe are putting out bowls of candy in front of their doors for contactless candy pickup.  

“[It will] say ‘take two and smile for my camera!’” Harrity said. “That way, I can see the cute costumes, kids get candy, I get no germs and it’s a win for all!” 

Mellissa Woodall-Clarke wrote in a comment on Facebook that she will create a tube for her son to slide pieces of candy down into kids’ buckets, allowing them to keep a distance, sanitize and mask up without having to worry while also still getting to see those in the neighborhood. 

Forsyth County Fire Chief Barry Head also changed up county tradition this year when he recently made the decision to cancel the fire department’s annual Trunk-or-Treat event where kids can usually treat themselves to some sweets while also learning about Halloween safety. 

“It was a very tough decision to make and one that he made with a heavy heart,” Division Chief Jason Shivers said. 

Many residents have said that they still plan go out trick-or-treating in their neighborhoods this year, some noting that they will still be sure to follow CDC guidelines no matter what they plan on doing for the holiday this year. 

Resident Sheryle Pirkle said that she believes it is entirely up to each individual family what they think is best for them and their kids. 

“Either you take your kids out and trick-or-treat to the houses that have a porch light on, or you don’t,” she said. “[That] is totally up to you as a parent.” 

The CDC advises that those who have tested positive for COVID-19, been exposed to the virus within the last 14 days, are awaiting a COVID-19 test result or are at an increased risk of severe illness from the virus should not participate in any in-person activities this Halloween. 

For those who are worried about going out to trick-or-treat this year, the CDC also offered safer alternatives for how families can celebrate. These activities include: 

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with other household members or while social distancing with friends 

  • Putting up spooky decorations to scare neighbors 

  • Participating in a Halloween scavenger hunt that keeps kids/families socially distanced 

  • Having a scary movie night with household members 

  • Hosting a virtual costume contest for those who still want to dress up and show off their creations 

For more information or guidance on how to safely celebrate holidays this fall, visit the CDC’s website