ATTENTION: The City of Winchester government does not regulate, schedule or cancel trick-or-treating activities for Halloween each year. In the past, the Winchester Police Department has made a recommendation for the date and times for safety purposes, but when trick-or-treating occurs in the city is up to individual neighborhoods and families.
How to Trick-or-Treat in 2020
The Virginia Department of Health's guidance for holiday gatherings is the same as it is for everything else:
- avoid close contact with people who do not live in you home
- wear a cloth mask
- practice social distancing
- practice good hygiene (wash you hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a alcohol-based hand sanitizer)
When deciding whether or not to participate in Halloween activities this year, it is important to keep in mind the many changes that COVID-19 has caused. If you and your family decide to participate, please consider the below guidelines.
For those who want to Trick-or-Treat:
- Wear a cloth mask.
- Do not use a costume mask (such as for Halloween) as a substitute for a cloth mask unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers your mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around your face.
- Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
- Costume masks that have holes or do not fit snugly to the face, covering both the nose and mouth, will not provide the necessary protection.
- Wash your hands before and after trick-or-treating and use antibacterial hand sanitizer between each stop.
- Only go out with those who live in your household. Avoid crowds and maintain six feet of distance between your group and others. Don’t allow children to rush up to houses that may already have a group waiting for candy. Wait your turn to maintain distance.
- If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick or has been around someone else who was sick, do not go trick-or-treating.
For those who want to hand out candy:
- Wear a cloth mask.
- Wash your hands often throughout the event.
- Avoid having trick-or-treaters come to your door. Set up a bowl outside that they can pick from themselves. Even better, set up a table that will help you maintain your distance from the trick-or-treaters and that you could use to spread your candy out, to avoid having everyone reach into the same bowl and to help excited kids remain physically distant.
- If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick or has been around someone else who was sick, do not hand out candy.
There is no way to guarantee a COVID-free Halloween so it's important for every family to weigh the risks. If you plan to participate, please follow all health safety guidelines. For a list of other options, including low-moderate-high risk options, view the guidelines released by the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC.