Courtesy of The Washington Post
Masks aren’t just for Halloween anymore. This year, due to safety precautions, fall activities face a new reality. To prevent the spread of Covid-19, Cherry Hill residents are advised to wear masks for activities, including those outdoors, such as pumpkin picking and hayrides. Whatsmore, long established indoor traditions such as the haunted house, and festivals, including the 2020 Blackwood Pumpkin Festival, have been canceled entirely. Closer to home, Cherry Hill residents will not be able to participate in the annual corn maze or pumpkin picking hayrides at Springdale Farms. In an effort to salvage some sort of fall festivity, however, the Springdale Farms’ website promises to bring a new fall experience that will include limited campfire hayrides. As local businesses try to adjust their plans according to the latest CDC guidelines, the clear priority remains keeping everyone safe.
The CDC, which updates its guidelines as new information about the spread of Covid-19 becomes available, also releases recommendations to address questions about the safest way to celebrate our normal activities. Just released Halloween guidelines include low-risk activities such as carving pumpkins outside, virtual costume contests, and movie night. Guidelines include a safety rating system to help evaluate health risks. Outdoor activities such as pumpkin picking at a pumpkin patch and costume parades are rated “moderate,” while traditional trick-or-treating, indoor haunted houses, hayrides, and indoor Halloween parties receive “high risk” marks. To combat pandemic fatigue, the CDC suggests alternatives for high risk activities such as individually wrapping goodie bags and leaving them lined up outside for trick-or-treaters, or creating a “haunted forest” to replace the more traditional haunted house. Of course, masks and social distance are recommended for all activities.
The CDC’s new guidelines address other fall holidays, too, including Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a multi-day Mexican holiday that begins on October 31 and includes a tribute for friends and family who have died. According to the CDC, celebrants should limit participation to low risk activities from home, such as listening to music, food, even decorating masks. Guidelines include suggestions for moderate and high risk activities as well, where small group gatherings outdoors are advised for celebrations that include friends and family who have traveled from other locations.
As these holidays are approaching, many individuals are disappointed about the changes that 2020 has necessitated. The restrictions on activities are designed to protect the community, particularly because experts anticipate that cases of COVID-19 will rise as the winter months near. Trick-or-treating may be different, yet individuals of all ages can all enjoy a sweet and safe holiday.