We love Halloween around here! And this year, Halloween 2020 converges with a full moon, a blue moon, Daylight Saving Time — and it falls on a Saturday- during a global pandemic. So, what will Halloween look like this year in Buncombe County? No, we aren’t taking Halloween away from you! But, (deep breath!) Halloween will need to be a bit different this year and it’s for your safety and the safety of those around you. Hopefully we can crush COVID so we can have all of the fun for 2021 Halloween!
Make no mistake, COVID-19 is still circulating in our community with no sign of decreasing and we continue to see spikes in cases after holiday events. This handy website from Harvard’s Global Health Institute provides an interactive map that people can use to assess risk in their area and which activities might be a safer bet for this Halloween. According to the map, Buncombe County is in the orange zone which means that while our risk isn’t at the highest level, it’s still pretty risky. Best to be careful this year around these parts and consider some safer options! You will be glad to know that with a little bit of planning, there are some great and SAFE options for fun!
The problem is...
With traditional trick-or-treating where a child (or adult) goes door-to-door, there are multiple exposures to people who could be infected with COVID-19. The more homes you visit, the higher the risk of the virus being passed onto the child (or adult) who could then pass the virus to a family member or someone else who is vulnerable. Remember, sometimes people don’t even know they have COVID-19 and, while they may seem healthy, they could spread the virus to others.
Safer trick-or-treating (or something like that!)...
If a family chooses traditional trick-or- treating, they should limit the exposures, wear masks at all times and social distance as much as possible. People should consider alternatives to answering the door to trick-or-treaters. These include placing pre-prepared bags of goodies at a table near your house so the little ones can take one, while you keep your social distance and wear a face covering nearby. If there are high-risk individuals in the household, consider not answering the door to trick-or-treaters and leaving bags of treats outside the door. NCDHHS has released guidance for safer holidays that can be found here. There is also a Halloween Safe House pledge where people can agree to follow best practices and safety protocols and, in turn, print out a poster to display on their property.
- Avoid large gatherings, avoid indoor activities with people outside of your household and wear face masks (not just costume masks).
- Make sure your children are wearing masks at all times and practice social distancing.
- Accompany your children to make sure they are wearing their masks and social distancing at least 6 feet apart and limit any time spent inside to less than 15 minutes.
- Only consume candy that is individually wrapped. If you want to be the safest, you could wipe off the outside of the wrapper or wait 24 hours before touching the candy. After touching any items you get from someone else, you should wash your hands or if hand washing is not available, use hand sanitizer. Do not put any disinfectant directly on the candy.
Here are a couple of great, free alternatives to ramp up your Halloween festivities in Buncombe County.
Asheville Parks & Recreation has 2 Halloween-related movie events, one for the whole family and the other for teens and adults. Both of them are Movies in the PARKing Lot, one on Oct. 15 and the other on Oct. 29, both at A-B Tech. While free, you do have to register.
Buncombe County Recreation Services is offering its annual Scarecrow Festival at Lake Julian Park on Oct. 23–Nov. 1.
Buncombe County Recreation Services is offering a kooky, spooky, haunted drive through Fall-O-Ween at Lake Julian Park from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, October 29. Fall-O-Ween is a free community event aimed at families with kids 10 and under. Families will remain in their vehicles and are encouraged to wear costumes as they drive through the park while the sun sets. While there is no charge to attend, organizers ask for advance registration for planning purposes.