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How does your county or city recommend celebrating Halloween during COVID-19?

In late September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a set of guidelines for celebrating Halloween and other holidays during the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, several Maryland jurisdictions have issued their own recommendations for Halloween festivities.

When it comes to trick-or-treating, the CDC has urged a cautious approach. It listed “participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door” as a “higher risk” activity. Leaving goodie bags of treats at the end of a driveway for trick-or-treaters to allow for social distancing was deemed moderately risky, and holding a trick-or-treating scavenger hunt in your own home was deemed “lower risk.”

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Some Maryland counties, meanwhile, have taken less firm stances. Here’s a list of what some counties in Central Maryland are recommending:

Anne Arundel County: “Children should not be allowed to reach into the candy bowl or bag; instead the candy should be given to them piece by piece. Candy should be given out using a scoop or tongs, so the candy is not directly handled by anyone. Consider handing out items that are not edible, such as stickers.”

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Baltimore City: “Normal trick or treating, indoor haunted houses or house parties are not advised," the city wrote in a presentation. “If you decide to celebrate Halloween, celebrating at home or in an outdoor setting is preferred,” Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said Wednesday. “If you’re going to stay at home, some ideas for what you can do is you can carve and decorate a pumpkin with members of your household or you can do that outside with your neighbors who are least six feet away from you.”

Baltimore County: “Higher risk activities include traditional, door-to-door trick-or-treating, parking lot trunk-or-treats, crowded indoor costume parties, indoor haunted houses, and hayrides with people not in your household. These activities should be avoided. Remember — just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

Carroll County: “Trick-or-treat with people you live with. Stay 6 feet or more from people not in your household. It’s OK to get closer for a short time, like for a photo or candy hand-off, but make sure it’s less than 15 minutes.”

Harford County: “While door-to-door trick-or-treating is an outdoor event, it is still considered higher-risk. Consider placing a table at the end of your driveway with prepared treat bags and sanitizer.”

Howard County: “Door-to-door trick or treating is not encouraged, but if done, should be done in household groups, keeping physical distance between other groups and using flashlights or glowsticks so walkers can be easily seen. Treats are encouraged to be left outside.”

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