The City of Paducah has been reviewing guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of Kentucky in order to provide information to the local community about celebrating Halloween safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
First and foremost, those who are sick, have a fever, or are not feeling well should stay home. The City of Paducah asks citizens to limit their trick-or-treating from 5 to 8 p.m. on Halloween and to stay in their own neighborhoods.
City Manager Jim Arndt said, “Halloween is such a fun holiday for all ages, but we want our citizens to be thoughtful about how to celebrate and consider making new, lower risk traditions. Halloween will look different this year as social distancing and the wearing of facial coverings need to be incorporated into the evening’s plans.”
Arndt added, “Traditional trick-or-treating and trunk-or-treating are not recommended due to their higher risk of exposure to COVID-19. But with adaptations, these activities can be modified to lower their risk. Furthermore, as you are planning celebrations, consider the location, duration, and number of people at the gathering. Events that are outdoors with a small number of people pose a lower risk.”
For those who will be driving Halloween evening, please reduce your speed in neighborhoods and watch for children at intersections, on medians, and at the edge of yards. Use extra caution when entering and exiting driveways. Below are various guidelines, information, and ideas for the community to incorporate and consider in planning Halloween activities.
Halloween 2020 Guidelines and Information - 3 Flyers
Jefferson Street Neighborhood:
Thank you to Paducah Life Magazine for the beautiful Halloween image. If you want to read more about the Jefferson Street Neighborhood Halloween tradition, please pick up the latest copy of Paducah Life Magazine.
City staff have been in contact with residents from the Jefferson Street neighborhood regarding its traditional event that often attracts thousands of trick-or-treaters along several blocks of Jefferson Street. To keep everyone safe during the pandemic by eliminating large social gatherings, the community is encouraged to remain in small groups within their own neighborhoods with their friends and family and not visit the Jefferson Street neighborhood.
In a Facebook post, the Jefferson Street Neighborhood states, “We feel the health risk of our community is more important than risking one night. But we do not want to discourage our neighbors as we love the holiday just as much as you. This was not an easy decision for our street to agree on, but just like other communities who made the same decision, we want to ensure the safety of our children and allow them to be healthy while keeping our schools and businesses open.”
Jefferson Street will be holding a virtual Halloween costume contest in which people are able to share their children’s costumes via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JeffersonStreetPaducah/. Jefferson Street residents will vote and award five mega pumpkins that are full of candy. Plus, the Jefferson Street residents are decorating their homes and encouraging people to drive by the week of Halloween to view the decorations.
Guidelines for trick-or-treaters:
- Trick-or-treat only with members of household and stay in your own neighborhood.
- Maintain social distancing of at least six feet from anyone who is not an immediate family member.
- Wear a protective cloth face mask and incorporate it into your Halloween costume. A costume mask should not be worn as a substitute for a cloth mask unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face. Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe.
- Sanitize hands frequently while out trick-or-treating.
- Select costumes that fit appropriately and are not tripping hazards. Make sure that costume swords, knives, and similar accessories are short, soft, and flexible.
- Avoid walking in the road. Walk on sidewalks or the edge of yards.
- Select houses with their front porch lights on in familiar neighborhoods.
- Don’t go inside any house or accept a ride from a stranger.
- Don’t pet or approach any animals.
Guidelines for parents or guardians during trick-or-treating:
- Talk with your children about safety and social distancing guidelines and expectations.
- Carry a flashlight at night and be sure children have reflective clothing.
- Wear a face mask covering your mouth and nose.
- Sanitize your hands often. Make sure children are sanitizing their hands frequently throughout the evening.
- Inspect your children's candy for anything out of the ordinary before they eat it. Candy should be discarded if the wrapper is faded or torn if the candy is unwrapped.
Guidelines for homeowners during trick-or-treating:
- Do not hand out candy if you’re sick or have a fever.
- Wear a face mask covering your nose and mouth and keep at least six-feet of social distancing.
- Mark six-foot lines on the sidewalk in front of your home and leading to your driveway/front door to help visitors know how far apart they should stand.
- Place a distribution table or some other barrier between yourself and visiting trick-or-treaters to ensure they remain six feet away. Instead of having children reach into a communal candy bowl, distribute individual pieces candy or goody bags on the table to eliminate direct contact with trick-or-treaters (called one-way trick-or-treating). Consider creative and fun ways to safely hand out candy such as building a candy slide.
- Sanitize your hands often throughout the night.
Guidelines to organizers of trunk-or-treats:
Typical trunk-or-treat events are considered to be high risk activities; however, there are ways to reduce the risk.
- Since crowds are discouraged during a pandemic, event organizers are encouraged to stagger arrival time and departures for participants to limit the size of the crowds. A suggestion is to provide a sign-up process for families who would like to attend. This will limit the number of people at any one time at the event.
- To allow for social distancing space, the vehicles and event tables need to be appropriately spaced outdoors. Plus, sidewalk chalk can be used to mark areas at least six feet apart where people are directed to wait between cars. Plus, the chalk can be used to draw arrows to direct one-way foot traffic.
- Instead of a bowl or trunk full of treats that encourages trunk-or-treaters to reach into, provide a table with individual pieces of candy or goody bags for the children to pick up.
Ideas for fun, creative, and lower risk ways to celebrate Halloween:
- Carve or decorate pumpkins with family members.
- Participate in reverse trick-or-treating in which children dress up in their costumes and stay in their yard or front porch. Neighbors can stop by to admire the costumes at a safe distance and place candy in a bucket for the children.
- Participate in a holiday scavenger hunt in which children walk outdoors looking for a list of Halloween-themed items.
- Enjoy a movie night with family members.
- Set up a virtual Halloween costume party.
To read the CDC guidelines for holiday celebrations, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html. Visit https://govstatus.egov.com/kycovid19 for Kentucky’s Halloween Guidelines.
Date of release: October 9, 2020