PADUCAH — The City of Paducah has released guidelines and recommendations for the community to celebrate Halloween safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
First and foremost, the city says anyone who is sick, has a fever, or is just not feeling well should stay home. The city is also asking community members to only trick-or-treat from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Halloween and to stay in their own neighborhoods.
The city asks that anyone driving on Halloween evening to drive slow in neighborhoods and watch for children at intersections, on medians, and at the edge of yards. The city also asks that you use extra caution when driving in and out of driveways.
Below you can find the guidelines, information, and ideas the city of Paducah has put together for the community to consider in planning this year's Halloween activities:
Jefferson Street Neighborhood:
Public Information Officer Pamela Spencer says the city has been in contact with people who live in the Jefferson Street neighborhood about its traditional event that often brings thousands of trick-or-treaters along several blocks of the street.
To keep everyone safe during the pandemic and keep social gatherings small, Spencer says the community is encouraged to stay in small groups within their own neighborhoods with their friends and family and not visit the Jefferson Street neighborhood.
In a Facebook post, the Jefferson Street Neighborhood says they don't want to discourage the neighbors, but the health of the community is not worth risking it for one night.
However, Jefferson Street will be holding a virtual Halloween costume contest! You can submit your children's costumes on Jefferson Street's Facebook page by clicking here.
Spencer says Jefferson Street residents will vote on five costumes and award them with a mega pumpkin full of candy.
The homes on Jefferson Street will also be decorated and neighborhood members are encouraging people to drive by the week of Halloween and see the spooky accessories.
Below you can find the guidelines for trick-or-treaters, parents and guardians of trick-or-treaters, homeowners participating in trick-or-treating, organizers of trunk-or-treats, and some fun, alternative ways to celebrate Halloween this year.
Guidelines for Trick-or-Treaters:
- Trick-or-treat only with members of household and stay in your own neighborhood.
- Maintain social distancing of at least six feet from anyone who is not an immediate family member.
- Wear a protective cloth face mask and incorporate it into your Halloween costume. A costume mask should not be worn as a substitute for a cloth mask unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face. Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe.
- Sanitize hands frequently while out trick-or-treating.
- Select costumes that fit appropriately and are not tripping hazards. Make sure that costume swords, knives, and similar accessories are short, soft, and flexible.
- Avoid walking in the road. Walk on sidewalks or the edge of yards.
- Select houses with their front porch lights on in familiar neighborhoods.
- Don’t go inside any house or accept a ride from a stranger.
- Don’t pet or approach any animals.
Guidelines for parents or guardians during trick-or-treating:
- Talk with your children about safety and social distancing guidelines and expectations.
- Carry a flashlight at night and be sure children have reflective clothing.
- Wear a face mask covering your mouth and nose.
- Sanitize your hands often. Make sure children are sanitizing their hands frequently throughout the evening.
- Inspect your children's candy for anything out of the ordinary before they eat it. Candy should be discarded if the wrapper is faded, torn, or if the candy is unwrapped.
Guidelines for homeowners during trick-or-treating:
- Do not hand out candy if you’re sick or have a fever.
- Wear a face mask covering your nose and mouth and keep at least six-feet of social distancing.
- Mark six-foot lines on the sidewalk in front of your home and leading to your driveway/front door to help visitors know how far apart they should stand.
- Place a distribution table or some other barrier between yourself and visiting trick-or-treaters to ensure they remain six feet away. Instead of having children reach into a communal candy bowl, distribute individual pieces of candy or goody bags on the table to eliminate direct contact with trick-or-treaters (called one-way trick-or-treating). Consider creative and fun ways to safely hand out candy such as building a candy slide.
- Sanitize your hands often throughout the night.
Guidelines to organizers of trunk-or-treats:
“Traditional trick-or-treating and trunk-or-treating are not recommended due to their higher risk of exposure to COVID-19," says City Manager Jim Arndt. "But with adaptations, these activities can be modified to lower their risk. Furthermore, as you are planning celebrations, consider the location, duration, and number of people at the gathering. Events that are outdoors with a small number of people pose a lower risk.”
Typical trunk-or-treat events are considered to be high risk activities; however, there are ways to reduce the risk.
- Since crowds are discouraged during a pandemic, event organizers are encouraged to stagger arrival time and departures for participants to limit the size of the crowds. A suggestion is to provide a sign-up process for families who would like to attend. This will limit the number of people at any one time at the event.
- To allow for social distancing space, the vehicles and event tables need to be appropriately spaced outdoors. Plus, sidewalk chalk can be used to mark areas at least six feet apart where people are directed to wait between cars. Plus, the chalk can be used to draw arrows to direct one-way foot traffic.
- Instead of a bowl or trunk full of treats that encourages trunk-or-treaters to reach into, provide a table with individual pieces of candy or goody bags for the children to pick up.
Ideas for fun, creative, and lower risk ways to celebrate Halloween:
“Halloween is such a fun holiday for all ages, but we want our citizens to be thoughtful about how to celebrate and consider making new, lower risk traditions," says Arndt. "Halloween will look different this year as social distancing and the wearing of facial coverings need to be incorporated into the evening’s plans.”
Here are some fun alternative ways to celebrate the spooky season:
- Carve or decorate pumpkins with family members.
- Participate in reverse trick-or-treating in which children dress up in their costumes and stay in their yard or front porch. Neighbors can stop by to admire the costumes at a safe distance and place candy in a bucket for the children.
- Participate in a holiday scavenger hunt in which children walk outdoors looking for a list of Halloween-themed items.
- Enjoy a movie night with family members.
- Set up a virtual Halloween costume party.
To read the CDC guidelines for holiday celebrations, click here.
Click here to see Kentucky's Halloween guidelines.