As Halloween approaches, the City of Wheaton would like to address questions we have received about trick-or-treating and Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) provided guidance to help residents celebrate safely as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. While the IDPH states that the safest way to celebrate is to stay home and plan virtual gatherings, if individuals decide to gather, it is issuing recommendations for safer ways to celebrate. Considerations including the three W's: wear a mask/face covering, watch your distance and wash your hands.
Specific recommendations from the Illinois Department of Public Health include:
- If you think you could have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, do not participate in any in-person Halloween activities.
- Anyone participating in trick-or-treating, including those passing out candy, should maintain 6-feet of social distance and wear proper face coverings.
- Consider leaving individually wrapped candy (spaced apart) on a table in driveways or in front of walkways, sidewalks, or any outdoor space where 6-feet of distance can be maintained.
- A Halloween costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. Ensure that breathing is not impaired if a cloth mask is worn under a costume mask. If so, discard the costume mask.
- Trick-or-treat in groups with household members only.
- Candy collected during trick-or-treating should not be eaten until after handwashing.
- Adult costume parties, social gatherings:
- Gatherings of more than 50 people or 50% or more of a building’s maximum occupancy are prohibited. (Lower limits may apply for regions in additional mitigation.)
- The more time you spend at a gathering, the closer the contact, the more people, the higher your risk of exposure to COVID-19.
- Follow small social gathering safety tips from IDPH.
- After participating in any of the above activities, if you think that you may have been exposed during your celebration, take extra precautions for 14 days after the event to help protect others. You should stay home as much as possible, avoid being around people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and consider getting tested for COVID-19.
- Full IDPH Halloween guidance is available on the IDPH website.
Additional information from the City of Wheaton:
- It is up to each resident to decide whether you would like to engage in Halloween activities – including whether you allow trick-or-treaters to visit your home or not – and how you will do so.
- Trick-or-treating hours are from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31.
- If you do not want trick-or-treaters to visit your home, hang a sign on your door indicating you are not participating and/or you can turn off your porch light. We are providing this sign to print out for your use, or you can pick up a copy at City Hall, 303 W. Wesley St., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.
- If you choose to trick-or-treat, please take extra precautions, including maintaining a physical distance of at least 6 feet, wearing a mask (please note that a costume mask does not provide the protection of a cloth mask), and frequently using hand sanitizer.
- If you will be inviting trick-or-treaters to stop at your house, please wear a mask or face covering and gloves when handing out candy, wash your hands frequently, and disinfect high-touch surfaces such as doorbells and door knobs that trick-or-treaters might touch.
Please Respect Your Neighbors
We remind those who are participating in trick-or-treating not to approach homes or knock on doors of homes that have “no trick-or-treating here” signs or have exterior lights off. Please treat all neighbors with respect and courtesy.
We encourage all residents to celebrate safely and respectfully, and take the necessary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as physical distancing of at least 6 feet, wearing a cloth mask or face covering, using hand sanitizer/washing your hands frequently, and disinfecting high-touch surfaces.
For additional information and updates regarding public health restrictions or guidance on Halloween trick-or-treating, please visit www.wheaton.il.us and see the CDC's recommendations for holiday celebrations here.