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Trick-or-treating, costume masks and Halloween parties discouraged by CDC this year

The Centers for Disease control and prevention took down guidance it posted just days ago on how the coronavirus can spread through the air, saying the guidance was posted in a clerical error. CNN's Brian Todd reports.

Posted: Sep 22, 2020 8:01 PM
Updated: Sep 22, 2020 8:01 PM

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued its first guidance for the holidays, including Halloween, amid the raging coronavirus pandemic in a new posting on its website Monday night.

Door-to-door trick-or-treating and costume masks and parties are discouraged this year due to the pandemic, the CDC said.

"Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses," the agency said in its posting. "There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween."

The new guidance lists "low-risk, moderate and higher risk activities" for celebrating All Hallow's Eve.

Low risk Halloween activities

Low risk activities include carving pumpkins and decorating your home, outdoor scavenger hunts, virtual costume contests and hosting a movie night with household members.

The CDC suggests, "Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance," as a fun event for children.

"Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with," is another low risk idea.

Moderate risk events

Moderate risk things to do include so-called "one-way trick-or-treating" by exchanging goody bags placed at the end of a driveway or the edge of a yard, having a small group outside for an "open-air costume parade" where participants are at least 6-feet apart or attending an outdoor costume party where masks are worn and people social distance.

A note here about Halloween masks. "A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask," the CDC said. "A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn't leave gaps."

The agency is discouraging the use of costume masks this year, saying they are not a substitute for cloth masks. It is also warning against wearing a costume mask over a protective cloth, pointing out it's dangerous because it might make it hard to breathe.

Other moderate risk activities include "an open-air, one-way, walk through (a) haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can social distance.

"If screaming will occur, greater distancing is advised," the agency urged.

Pumpkin patches or orchard visits and outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends are OK in this category.

Higher risk activities should be avoided

The CDC is warning higher risk activities should be avoided. These include door-to-door trick-or-treating, attending crowded, indoor costume parties, visiting indoor haunted houses or going on hayrides or tractors rides with strangers.

"Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots," should be avoided, too.

"Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19," should also be avoided.

In fact, the health agency recommends tailoring all Halloween activity based on whether coronavirus infections are spiking in a given area.

Day of the Dead

That goes for Day of the Dead celebrations, too.

"Many traditional activities can put you at higher risk for exposure to COVID-19. There are several safer, alternative ways to celebrate Día de los Muertos," the CDC said.

Health officials suggest making traditional family recipes for family and neighbors and delivering them in a non-contact manner, playing music in your home that your deceased loved ones enjoyed, making and decorating masks, setting out pillows and blankets in your home for the deceased and joining virtual celebrations as the lowest risk way to celebrate Day of the Dead.

Moderate activities include an open-air parade where people remain 6 feet apart, visiting and decorating the graves of loved ones with family members or hosting/attending small outdoor dinners with local family and friends.

Large indoor celebrations with singing or chanting are considered higher risk events that should be avoided, as are crowded indoor gatherings, large dinner parties with people from different households and travelers from other locations.

"When planning to host a holiday celebration, you should assess current COVID-19 levels in your community to determine whether to postpone, cancel, or limit the number of attendees," the CDC warned.

The agency said the new guidelines are not meant to replace any local or state mandates on the pandemic.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 115763

Reported Deaths: 3263
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7973177
DeSoto703979
Harrison522384
Jackson457884
Rankin394086
Madison383194
Lee357380
Forrest304678
Jones292484
Washington258399
Lafayette250443
Lauderdale2478135
Lamar225538
Oktibbeha202454
Bolivar201677
Neshoba1849111
Lowndes179962
Panola170040
Leflore167187
Sunflower162349
Warren154855
Monroe150673
Pontotoc147220
Marshall143129
Lincoln140157
Pike138456
Copiah137536
Scott125429
Coahoma124937
Grenada122638
Yazoo122234
Simpson121549
Union118825
Tate116839
Leake115041
Holmes114760
Itawamba113925
Pearl River113660
Adams108544
Prentiss106120
Wayne101722
Alcorn100112
George99218
Covington97527
Marion95042
Tippah90322
Newton86627
Chickasaw85526
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84121
Hancock84028
Tishomingo81241
Attala79426
Clarke75851
Clay69321
Jasper68717
Walthall63927
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59817
Smith59416
Montgomery54923
Yalobusha54514
Claiborne53716
Tunica53517
Lawrence51814
Perry49423
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47514
Humphreys43816
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41011
Webster37613
Benton3416
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32615
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27610
Franklin2423
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 158701

Reported Deaths: 2680
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23292377
Mobile16916315
Tuscaloosa10345140
Montgomery10250197
Madison935096
Shelby739063
Baldwin665869
Lee654665
Calhoun459961
Marshall439550
Etowah428551
Houston417034
Morgan416435
DeKalb342629
Elmore320853
St. Clair295542
Limestone287230
Walker279492
Talladega266435
Cullman248024
Lauderdale229442
Jackson215915
Autauga205931
Franklin205531
Colbert202132
Russell19493
Blount193225
Chilton188432
Dallas186627
Coffee177111
Dale176351
Covington174729
Escambia172730
Clarke135217
Chambers135044
Pike134113
Tallapoosa132987
Marion108129
Barbour10339
Marengo101922
Butler101140
Winston92913
Geneva9067
Lawrence85832
Pickens85218
Bibb84014
Randolph82716
Hale76830
Washington74912
Clay74412
Cherokee73814
Henry7176
Lowndes71328
Bullock64917
Monroe64610
Crenshaw60830
Perry5926
Fayette57713
Cleburne5698
Wilcox56812
Conecuh56113
Macon53620
Lamar4965
Sumter47221
Choctaw39212
Greene34216
Coosa2043
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