Summit County officials discourage trick-or-treating as towns cancel organized events
KEYSTONE — As Halloween nears, both Summit County and state officials are urging people to find a new way to celebrate.
At a Summit County Board of Health meeting Thursday, Oct. 1, Public Health Director Amy Wineland discussed new state guidance surrounding the holiday. The biggest change: trick-or-treating is out.
While the state isn’t outright banning trick-or-treating, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is discouraging people from taking part in the tradition.
“It may seem like the risk is really low, but the issue is when a lot of people are participating in lower-risk activities at the same time, it raises the potential for disease spread across the state,” Wineland said.
If people do choose to partake in trick-or-treating, they should do so within their own neighborhoods and with some minor changes, according to the guidance. The guidance suggests that adults accompany trick-or-treaters to help enforce precautions, people remain in household groups, people limit time spent at a doorway and everyone wears a mask.
Wineland said it’s important to note that Halloween masks don’t prevent the spread of the virus in the same way as masks used for COVID-19.
“Halloween masks or masks that are part of costumes are not sufficient in protecting others or yourself from the virus,” she said. “You really need to still be wearing the traditional face mask we’ve been talking about all along.”
County Manager Scott Vargo said town managers and councils seem to be on board with the plans to cancel Halloween activities.
“It seemed as though there was pretty strong support from most, if not all, of the towns around not providing or sponsoring traditional trick-or-treat activities or events within their towns,” he said.
Frisco has canceled its annual Trick-or-Treat on Main Street event.
“This virus does not recognize holidays so we can’t either, and there is a concern that folks are no longer taking precautions due to fatigue and complacency,” the town posted on its page for the event. “That means that this is the moment to be extra vigilant and not let our guards down.”
Silverthorne also canceled its annual Pumpkin Fest. Instead of the festival, the town is hosting a fundraiser to buy Silverthorne Elementary a new air filtration system. That fundraiser kicks off Friday, Oct. 2, during the Stroll Along the Blue First Friday event.
With the cancellations of organized events, there is some concern that people still will participate in trick-or-treating on their own and what that might look like.
“(The cancellations) might push more trick-or-treaters to the neighborhoods where there’s been more consistent trick-or-treating,” commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. “We need to figure out about what the message is there. There could be people who are vulnerable who don’t want trick-or-treaters coming to their house; there could be others that do.”
Wineland also emphasized that any gatherings that take place around the holiday should be within groups of 10 or fewer people. The new guidance suggests activities that fit within the safer-at-home Level 2 guidelines, including a face-mask decorating party with 10 or fewer people, open-air and one-way walk-through haunted houses or mazes, and outdoor Halloween movie nights with physical distancing.
“As much as we would like to have it and do it, I think the overall message is that this is not the Halloween to have a traditional Halloween,” Vargo said.
County officials will be discussing Halloween as well as other coronavirus matters at a virtual town hall Monday, Oct. 5. The town hall will start at 6 p.m. via a livestream on the county’s Facebook page. Community members will be able to ask any questions about the virus through the Facebook Live.
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