Whether or not to take kids trick-or-treating in Hoke County this year is up to each family’s own decision, but the CDC issued guidelines don’t recommend it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, no government office or law enforcement agency in Hoke County has taken any action to stop trick-or-treating this year. Technically, trick-or-treating in Hoke County doesn’t have officially set hours and isn’t governed by any local authority, though law enforcement agencies often provide safety tips.
Raeford Police Chief Marc Godwin and Hoke County Sheriff Dr. Hubert Peterkin both said they were not aware of any local bans or plans to restrict trick-or-treating. However, some events such as the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office annual trunk-or-treat are likely canceled for 2020. Peterkin said he planned to discuss the event with his staff, but probably would not hold the trunk-or-treat.
As an alternative to traditional trick-or-treating, The News-Journal is asking local businesses in Raeford to consider handing out goodie bags in a drive-thru trick-or-treat from 6-8 p.m. on Halloween (see related story).
And, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labeled traditional trick-or-treating, where treats are handed to children going door to door, as a higher risk activity that could spread coronavirus. The CDC also labeled trunk-or-treats, crowded costume parties and crowded indoor haunted houses as higher risk Halloween activities.
A more moderate-risk version of trick-or-treating would be for households giving out candy to place individually wrapped goodie bags at the end of a driveway or the edge of a yard, for families to grab and go. People preparing goodie bags should wash their hands before and after preparing the bags.
Halloween costume masks are not a substitute for a protective cloth mask, according to health officials. Costume masks should not be worn over protective masks. The CDC suggested wearing a Halloween-themed cloth mask instead.
Children and adults who have tested positive for COVID-19, or who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, should not participate in in-person Halloween activities. If there’s a chance you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, don’t hand out candy to trick-or-treaters or go trick-or-treating, health officials advised. People who are at higher risk for complications from COVID-19 should take extra precautions.
Low risk activities can be safer alternatives to a traditional trick-or-treat or Halloween party. The CDC suggested lower risk activities including:
- Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household
- Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
- Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
- Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
- Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
- Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house
For more tips on coping with coronavirus during special occasions and holidays, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html.