THIS JUST IN: City discourages door-to-door trick-or-treating

City officials and the Marion County Public Health Department say parents should not take their children door-to-door trick-or-treating or “trunk-or-treating.” Also discouraged is leaving bowls of candy for others to grab are not recommended, because it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing guidelines, they said.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department will schedule extra patrols and enforcement in neighborhoods from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31.

The Marion County Public Health Department has issued the following public health guidance, based on current public health orders and relative risk levels of different activities:

Personal Protection Measures

  • However they celebrate, people should continue to follow the current Marion County Public Health Order, Marion County Public Health Guidance, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Halloween Guidelines – maintain distance from others; and wear face coverings to keep children and adults safe.
  • Remember to wash or sanitize hands often.
  • Clean frequently touched items regularly.
  • Avoid close contact – stay at least six feet away (three or more adult steps) from all other people who are not part of your own household.
  • Avoid indoor spaces that don’t allow for easy distancing of at least six feet between you and others.
  • Correctly wear a face covering to prevent disease spread when outside your home and around others that are not part of your household. A costume (Halloween) mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume makes it hard to breathe.
  • Stay home and away from others if you are ill or have been in contact with someone who is ill with, or has symptoms of, COVID-19. For questions, please contact the Marion County Public Health Department.

Halloween Activities Not Allowed.

  • In-person social gatherings or parties more than 50 people are not permitted per the current MCPHD public health order. 

Halloween Activities Not Recommended.

  • Haunted Houses are not recommended unless they have entrance controls with sufficient monitors inside the facility at entrance/exit areas to make sure there is no lagging or congregating between participants who are members of different households. Close contact between individuals from different households is particularly dangerous in haunted houses because loud voices and screaming can exacerbate the spread of the virus.
  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household is not recommended, unless you are able to maintain two feet of distance from other parties and stay masked during the ride. If you do participate in a hayride or tractor ride, it should start within 15 minutes of the participants being seated and should unload within 15 minutes of the ride’s end.
  • Attending indoor Halloween parties is not recommended, particularly if a party is held in a crowded or poorly ventilated area.

Safer Halloween Activities

  • Online parties/contests (e.g., costume or pumpkin carving) and drive-through events and car parades.
  • Dressing up homes and yards with Halloween-themed decorations.
  • Halloween movie nights with your own household or at drive-in theaters.
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizers with 60% alcohol minimum before touching pumpkins or picking apples, masks are worn, and attendees are maintaining six feet of distance from others.

Alternatives to traditional Halloween activities

  • Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. Below are some safer alternative ways to participate:
  • Make fall recipes and crafts as a family for creative dinners and spooky decorations.
  • Participate in drive-through events or contests where individuals dress up or decorate their vehicles and receive scores from “judges” who are maintaining appropriate physical distance.
  • Participate in one-way trick-or-treating, where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard).
  • Consider distributing treats other than candy, which parents can then sanitize before giving to kids: stickers in cellophane packaging, pencils, mini pumpkins, erasers, etc.