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Will County Health Department Offers Safety Guidelines for Halloween and Other  Fall Activities to Keep Families Healthy
Anastasia Tuskey
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Will County Health Department Offers Safety Guidelines for Halloween and Other Fall Activities to Keep Families Healthy

The Will County Health Department (WCHD) has released updated guidance by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to help people celebrate Halloween and other Fall festivities more safely, as the County continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are committed to keeping everyone in Will County healthy and safe this Fall Holiday Season,” said Sue Olenek, Executive Director of the WCHD. “These precautionary guidelines are simple actions we can each take to enjoy trick-or-treating, fall festivals and Día de los Muertos and keep each other safe, especially children younger than 12 years old, since a vaccine is not yet available for them.”

Olenek said that the most effective way to protect against the virus is to get vaccinated. The Health Department continues to hold vaccination clinics and work with partners throughout Will County to provide free vaccines. To find the nearest location, visit www.willcountyhealth.org for the most up to date information.

“As families and individuals throughout Will County celebrate this fall, I join the Health Department in encouraging everyone to take the necessary steps to stay safe and protect themselves from COVID-19,” said Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Will County Executive. “I also want to urge individuals who have not been vaccinated to consider getting the vaccine to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.”

The guidelines released by the State of Illinois Health Department include:

Masks
Masks are currently required, per Executive Order, in all indoor public locations in Illinois. A costume mask is NOT a substitute for a well-fitting mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a costume mask over a face covering to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is not recommended because it could make breathing more difficult. Safer options include choosing a costume that does not come with a costume mask or find a costume that incorporates a face covering.

Trick-or-Treat
Trick-or-treating outdoors in small groups is best. If outdoors is not an option, there are steps people can take to make indoor trick-or-treating safer. Those handing out tricks or treats indoors should open doors and windows as much as possible to promote increased ventilation and wear a mask. It is also important for everyone handing out or receiving treats to wash their hands.
Alternatives to door-to-door trick-or-treating can include setting up tables in a parking lot or other safe outdoor area where individually wrapped treats can be set out or holding an outdoor costume parade for kids along with a parent/guardian.

Haunted Houses, Woods, Walks
Open-air haunted houses are safer than an enclosed haunted house. Masks are required to be worn in indoor haunted houses and the number of people should be limited to reduce crowding. Other options include visiting outdoor haunted woods or going on a haunted walk.

Pumpkin Patches, Orchard Visits, Fall Festivals
Schedule visits to pumpkin patches, orchards, and festivals at times that aren’t as busy. Also limit exposure by moving away from crowded areas and wearing a mask.

Halloween Parties and Social Gatherings
Large gatherings increase the risk of COVID-19 transmissions and outdoor parties are safer than indoor parties. If indoors, masks must be worn in public places, but can also be worn in private settings where physical distancing is difficult. For indoor gatherings, try to increase air flow by opening doors and windows.

Día de los Muertos
Holding events and activities outdoors to honor deceased loved ones for Día de los Muertos is safer than indoors. If gathering indoor, increase air flow by opening windows and try to physically distance as much as possible. Another option to celebrate and remember deceased loved ones is to exchange traditional family recipes with family or neighbors that they can make at home.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, do not participate in any Halloween or fall events.

More information on Halloween and Fall Guidance is on the IDPH website at

https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/halloween







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