PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising against the beloved tradition of trick-or-treating and Halloween parties due to the risk of spreading COVID-19. It’s forcing parents to be more creative this year.
“My daughters are both very into Halloween and very excited,” said Liz Natchev of Northern Liberties. “And our neighbors, we usually get together, but it’s really a big question mark right now. We’re obviously not thinking about trick-or-treating.”
Over at Masquerade Costume Supercenter on Columbus Boulevard, it’s Halloween year-round. Employees say they expect business to be down slightly due to the pandemic, but they’re already seeing some promising foot traffic.
“We’re starting to see a pickup now, where you’re seeing groups come in,” said an employee named Rich. “There’s always Zoom, they’re finding ways to do things they’ve never did before, so we’ll see what happens.”
One of Franklin Square Park’s most popular events is the Trick-or-Treat Trail. It’s being scaled down this year as a capacity-limited Trick-or-Treat Street on Oct. 24, with several precautions in place.
“We’re going to do mini little haunted houses as a way of giving away the candy safely, so our staff will be behind the house and we will be getting the candy to them,” said Amy Needle, CEO and president of Historic Philadelphia. “We think with a grabber, so no one is touching anything.”
Dr. Katie Lockwood, a pediatrician at CHOP South Philadelphia, says virtual parties and activities within your own homes are safe and fun ways to celebrate Halloween.
“The CDC is suggesting like a scavenger hunt, where you could bag candy and hide it around your backyard,” she said. “The kids are still getting candy and having an activity to do, but you’re avoiding those crowds and contact with strangers.”
Dr. Lockwood also warned against costume masks.
“A costume mask does not give you the same degree of safety, so be careful and also don’t layer your costume mask and your face mask, it’s going to be a lot harder to breathe,” she said.
Franklin Square Park will also have Spooky Golf every night starting Oct. 1.
The Philadelphia Zoo’s popular “Boo at the Zoo” runs weekends from Oct. 16 through Nov. 1.