Fright night

Photo by Sudan Ouyang on Unsplash

Editor’s note: Share the thrills, chills and candy, but Halloween can’t be a super-spreader event for Sacramento County

Sacramento County didn’t succeed in turning orange by Halloween.

But you know what would be even scarier? Costume parties or trick-or-treating that spread COVID-19 throughout the community—and squash any hope of making the less restrictive orange tier during November so that more businesses can reopen.

To prevent that, Sacramento County Public Health has put out safety tips for Halloween: Wear face coverings. Keep social distancing of at least six feet. Only go out with your own family. Don’t travel to other neighborhoods.

Don’t hand out candy directly to trick-or-treaters. Instead, place a bowl or individual treat bags outside, along with hand sanitizer (that’s my plan). Wash your hands before unwrapping candy, and again before eating.

“I don’t have to remind you that this is not an ordinary Halloween. While, as parents, we preach safety every Halloween, this year COVID adds another layer of precautions,” county Supervisor Patrick Kennedy told constituents in his newsletter.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also put out guidance that lists Halloween activities by their relative risks. Traditional trick-or-treating, indoor haunted houses and crowded costume parties are the most dangerous.

In places with worse coronavirus spread, Halloween events have been canceled, and some cities are strongly discouraging trick-or-treating. Los Angeles County public health officials tried to ban trick-or-treating and haunted houses entirely, saying that social distancing was impossible, but backed down after public push-back.

In Sacramento County, Public Health suggests dropping off bags of candy at friends or neighbors, having a movie night at home, or having a virtual party or costume contest.

But if you want to venture out, there are also some safer public events. For example:

  • Friday, from 3 to 7 p.m., Sacramento Memorial Lawn and Stockton Boulevard Partnership are hosting their annual Trunk or Treat, with a car trunk decoration contest and socially distanced events.
  • Friday, at 6 p.m., is the Front Street Animal Shelter’s annual Paws to Party fund-raiser, held free online and with a pet Halloween costume contest.
  • Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., River Fox Train in West Sacramento is running a Pumpkin Patch Express with trick-or-treating and other activities.
  • Saturday at noon, William Land Golf Course is holding a 9-hole Scary Scramble for teams of one adult and one junior.
  • Saturday, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., Young Rembrandts of Sacramento is hosting a virtual ARTastic family Halloween event with a dance along, costume contest and scavenger hunt.

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