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Trick-or-treating in Ohio amid COVID-19: State health officials release Halloween guidance, alternative options

The state is not canceling trick-or-treating, but health officials released a list of Halloween safety precautions they're asking all Ohioans to follow this year.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Halloween is just a few weeks away, but it definitely won't be the same this year.

The Ohio Department of Health released their Halloween-related guidelines Friday afternoon with a big focus on trick-or-treating safety amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns. Some of the state’s suggestions include considering a drive-through trick-or-treat event instead of going door-to-door, wiping off candy wrappers and wearing facial coverings (see their full guidelines below).

Gov. Mike DeWine said all communities are being asked to make their own determination on whether to host trick-or-treat.

“Obviously, celebrations this year will not look like those in years past,” Gov. DeWine said Thursday before the state’s guidance was released.

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Here are the full trick-or-treating recommendations from the Ohio Department of Health:

It is strongly recommended that Ohioans exercise caution when deciding to participate in trick-or-treating and events that put them in close contact with people outside their households. To lower risk, consider safer, socially distant ways to celebrate, such as:

  • Holding a drive-through or drive-in trick-or-treat event, with children in costume and face coverings staying in cars and collecting treats from individuals spaced at least six feet apart.
  • Holding drive-by costume or car-decorating contests with judges who are physically distanced.
  • Leaving treats in the mailboxes of friends and neighbors.
  • Decorating your home and hide treats as an alternative to trick-or-treating.
  • Holding costume parties or pumpkin carving events or contests online, such as by video conference.
  • Always wear a face covering and stay six feet away from people who are not from your household, whether trick-or-treating, passing out treats, or attending attractions or events. Stay home if you are sick. (NOTE: Face coverings should never be placed on children younger than 2 or anyone who cannot easily remove them.)
  • Carry hand sanitizer and use it often, especially after coming into contact with frequently touched surfaces and before eating candy.
  • If taking your children trick-or-treating, limit the number of houses you visit and ask your children to stay as far from treat-givers as possible. For small children, consider holding the bag for them.
  • Wipe off candy wrappers with sanitizing wipes when you arrive home. (NOTE: Never wipe unpackaged food with wipes.)
  • Allow children to eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid homemade treats made by strangers.
  • Allow If your child is at greater risk of complications from COVID-19, contact your doctor before allowing participation in Halloween activities.
  • For trick-or-treating, reach out to neighbors to discuss ways to ensure six-foot social distancing, how candy can most safely be distributed, and the need for face coverings.
  • Refrain from having children select their own treats from a bowl/common container or set up a hand-sanitizing station. Consider placing treats on porch steps or a table in the driveway with a sign asking children to take only one. Or use other creative ways to distribute treats, such as using a candy “slide” made of PVC pipe, or hanging treats from a wall or fence.

See more of the state's Halloween guidance below:

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