COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Halloween treating during the COVID-19 pandemic may be a little tricky, but experts say there are still safe ways to celebrate the holiday.
Dr. Michael Kacka, DHEC Physician and Chief Medical Officer, says Halloween is not canceled this year, but he’s recommending people keep their gatherings limited.
“I think it is important to celebrate the holidays this year,” Kacka explained. “I know it’s been a very tough year for everyone, and we want people to go out and celebrate and spend time with their families. We just want them to make sure that they are taking the precautions.”
DHEC says traditional activities like trick-or-treating, haunted houses, and costume parties are considered high risk because they involve close interaction with people outside of your household.
But experts say trick or treating can still occur safely if everyone wears masks and stays six feet away from others.
“Preferably, the households will have prepackaged treats the children can collect themselves, or they can hang out the candy using tongs from the basket, so children aren’t actually reaching into the basket themselves,” said Kacka.
One fun and safe way to celebrate is by decorating your home. Along Montrose Drive in Lexington County, neighbors have decked out their houses with fun and spooky decor, and they encourage people to drive by at night to see the decorations illuminated and fog machines make for an even spookier visit.
Virtual costume contests, pumpkin carving contests, one-directional haunted trails, and drive-thru events can also be safe alternatives for celebrating.
DHEC wants to remind people that we are not out of the woods yet, and we are seeing a rise in cases across the country.
“As we move into the cold and flu season, that’s when we tend to see rises in these respiratory viruses,” said Kacka. “Unfortunately, we think COVID-19 19 may not be immune to this either, so it’s important that we look at these preventative actions and take actions to prevent the virus.”
DHEC notes we have seen some testing fatigue in the Midlands, and the agency recommends anyone who is regularly out in the community gets tested for COVID-19 at least once a month. If you choose to take part in Halloween celebrations, doctors say you should consider getting testing afterward and monitor for symptoms.
Here’s a list of safe Halloween celebrations in the Midlands:
Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Drive Thru Trick or Treat
- 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sheriff’s Office 1520 Ellis Avenue, Orangeburg, SC
Trick-or-Treat at West Columbia’s Meeting Street Artisan Market
- 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Interactive Art Park, 425 Meeting Street, West Columbia
- Each vendor will have a bucket of treats to pass out to children, including candy and take-home craft projects. Vendors will be selling art, crafts, food and produce.
Halloween at Fox Hideaway Farm
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1822 St Matthew Church Rd, Eastover, SC
- The event includes spooky goat yoga and beer, trunk or treat, costume contests, kids goat yoga, hayrides, pony rides, crafts, games, food trucks and more!
Rosewood Socially Distanced Children’s Halloween Parade
- Meet at 5 p.m. at Rosewood Park for a COVID-19 style Children’s Halloween Parade
Fairfield Sheriff’s Office Trunk or Treat
- 3 to 5 p.m. behind the Sheriff’s Office
- Please join us for our 5th annual Trunk or Treat! This year is a little different, but we can still have fun! Please drive through to get your candy and check out our Halloween decorations.
City of Newberry Drive-Thru Halloween event
- Pull out your Halloween costume and join the City of Newberry for a safe alternative to the traditional trick-or-treating festivities in Newberry. On Halloween night from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., City of Newberry staff will be present at the Newberry Recreation Complex, 1786 Glenn Street Extension, to host a drive-thru Halloween candy exchange with members of the community.
- To participate, residents are invited to drive through a marked route at the complex and remain in their car while Halloween treats are passed safely through the car’s window and dropped into each child’s goodie bag they bring from home! While the city’s recreation complex is normally open until 8 p.m., the park will close at 3 p.m. on October 31 in preparation for the drive-thru event. Those participating will not be able to enter the park until 5:30 p.m.
- All participants must remain in their vehicles and no walk-ups will be allowed. Candy is encouraged to be for participants of less than 13 years of age. For the safety of city staff and participants, masks are encouraged by those interacting in the exchange of Halloween candy.