Halloween is mere weeks away and families across the country are likely wondering whether or not trick-or-treating is happening this year as the coronavirus pandemic remains a concern. So to help make planning a little easier, Hershey has helped launch a new Halloween website that shows you what the COVID-19 risk is in your community so you can decide whether or not it's safe to trick-or-treat in your town.
The makers of all things Hershey as well as everyone's favorite Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and the still very worthy Kit Kat bar recently launched an interactive Halloween map with the help of Harvard Global Health Institute and the Halloween & Costume Association. "We’re taking a proactive approach," Phil Stanley, Hershey’s global chief sales officer, told The Wall Street Journal. "We’re really focused on helping consumers find creative ways to celebrate with treats, even though trick-or-treating is going to look different this year."
The map allows users to hover over every county in the country to see if it's in a Green, Yellow, Orange, or Red zone. For instance, if you live in a Green zone like Harney County in Oregon, you will find that there have been a total of 12 cases of coronavirus and zero deaths, which means trick-or-treating is presumably safe to do while also following safety guidelines like social distancing.
In Yellow zones, a bit more caution is advised for trick-or-treating on Halloween. "Focus on safety first and make sure you're only visiting the neighbors that have safety measures in place!" the Halloween website says.
For communities in Orange zones, the map suggests exercising more caution and getting creative, like trick-or-treating in reverse where kids stay on their front lawns and adults drive by with candy. "Get the kids all decked out in their costume of choice and hang out with them in the front yard as neighbors walk or drive by and deliver candy," Hershey says on the website.
In Red zones like Big Horn County, Montana, where there have been 773 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 19 deaths, families should consider invite-only Halloween parties, Zoom get-togethers, or just watching scary movies on Netflix to be as safe as possible.
The company also recommends that trick-or-treaters heading out on Oct. 31, which is a Saturday this year, should only go to houses where the residents have taken the Safe House Pledge. The pledge, which can be printed off as a certificate, includes promises from parents and trick-or-treaters that they will stay home if they've been sick, are staying six feet apart from anyone outside of their household, washing their hands and wearing protective face masks.
Of course, Halloween is going to look different for everyone this year, but no matter how your kiddo collects them, fun-sized chocolate bars aren't going anywhere.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.