Are We Having Halloween in Northern Virginia in 2020?

Happy Halloween image with moving ghost

With the pandemic still raging, many are asking if we are having Halloween in Northern Virginia in 2020?

In local groups on Facebook and NextDoor people are wondering what Halloween will look like this year. As I write this, the U.S. just hit a new record daily high of new COVID cases and seems to be on a dangerous upward trend. Unfortunately, Halloween has the potential to exacerbate this unless we are vigilant.

There are still ways to celebrate Halloween safely!

But first, let’s look at what our local governments have to say about the holiday.

Halloween in Fairfax County

According to the Vienna Patch, Fairfax County is recommending against traditional trick-or-treating but has not decided to “cancel” it.

“While Fairfax County cannot ‘cancel’ trick-or-treating, we do hope our residents will continue to prioritize safety just as we have all year,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay in a statement. “There are simple solutions to continue to enjoy the scares of the holiday — remember to wear a mask that matches your costume, social distance and have small Halloween activities outside.”

Unfortunately, the county does not appear to have an official page regarding Halloween, so we must rely on CDC guidelines (more below).

Halloween in Loudoun County

Like Fairfax County, Loudoun is discouraging most traditional Halloween activities and defers to the CDC for guidance. The county officially posted to the government’s website about Halloween here.

“We all have a role in making Halloween as safe as possible this year by taking precautions that limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” Loudoun County Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend said Friday in a statement. “We encourage parents and anyone planning to participate in Halloween-related events to take actions to protect themselves, their children and others from the virus that causes this disease.”

What does the CDC say about Halloween?

The CDC provides broad and comprehensive guidance for holiday celebrations during the pandemic on their website. For Halloween specifically, they have outlined low, moderate, and high-risk activities.

The high-risk activities include:

  • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
  • Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
  • Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
  • Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgment and increase risky behaviors
  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19

All of the low-risk suggestions made by the CDC are activities to be conducted within the household or virtually. There are some good ideas under the moderate risk category, which can likely be made low-risk by those who are hyper-vigilant. For example, provide individually wrapped goodie bags and line them up on a table at the end of the driveway/yard for the taking.

Whatever you choose to do, please be safe and consider modifying your activities accordingly. Use the CDC website for the overall guidelines but check out the Halloween 2020 organization for some fun, creative, and safe ideas.

Happy Halloween (2020 style)!