The city of Indianapolis and the Marion County Public Health Department have given the green light for trick or treating. Actually, to be totally fair, it’s a yellow light. But the question that’s been asked, “Will Halloween be canceled?” finally has an answer. No, Halloween will NOT be canceled.
While cities and municipalities don’t “regulate” or dictate how or when trick or treating and Halloween can take place, they’ve always provided guidance, including publishing suggested Trick or Treat times and safety tips.
In 2020, as Indiana is in stage 5 of the Back on Track and Indianapolis is seeing a drop in COVID positive cases and deaths, families have been wondering if trick or treat would be permitted to take place.
The city of Indianapolis has announced that official trick or treat times would be held between 6 pm and 8 pm on Saturday, October 31.
Additional guidance for celebrating Halloween in Indianapolis during the COVID-19 pandemic was provided:
- maintain distance from others
- wear face coverings to keep children and adults safe
- Wash or sanitize your hands often.
- Clean frequently touched items regularly.
- Avoid close contact – stay at least 6 feet away (3 or more adult steps) from all other people who are not part of your own household.
- Avoid indoor spaces that don’t allow for easy distancing of at least 6 feet between you and others.
- Correctly wear a face covering to prevent disease spread when outside your home and around others that are not part of your household. A costume (Halloween) mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume makes it hard to breathe.
- Stay home and away from others if you are ill or have been in contact with someone who is ill with, or has symptoms of, COVID-19.
For questions, please contact the Marion County Public Health Department.
Halloween Activities Not Allowed in Indianapolis
In-person social gatherings or parties more than 50 people are not permitted per the current MCPHD public health order.
Halloween Activities Not Recommended
Close contact (less than 6 feet), door-to-door trick-or-treating or “trunk-or-treating,” and leaving bowls of candy for others to grab are not recommended, because it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing guidelines.
*(Indy with Kids has a list of socially distant trick or treat alternatives.)
Haunted Houses are not recommended unless they have entrance controls with sufficient monitors inside the facility at entrance/exit areas to make sure there is no lagging or congregating between participants who are members of different households. Close contact between individuals from different households is particularly dangerous in haunted houses because loud voices and screaming can exacerbate the spread of the virus.
Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household is not recommended, unless you are able to maintain two feet of distance from other parties and stay masked during the ride. If you do participate in a hayride or tractor ride, it should start within 15 minutes of the participants being seated and should unload within 15 minutes of the ride’s end.
Attending indoor Halloween parties is not recommended, particularly if a party is held in a crowded or poorly ventilated area.
Safer Halloween Activities
Dressing up homes and yards with Halloween-themed decorations.
Halloween movie nights with your own household or at drive-in theaters.
Visiting pumpkin patches or apple orchards where people use hand sanitizers with 60% alcohol minimum before touching pumpkins or picking apples, masks are worn, and attendees are maintaining 6 feet of distance from others.
Alternatives to Traditional Halloween Activities
Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. Below are some safer alternative ways to participate:
Make fall recipes and crafts as a family for creative dinners and spooky decorations.
Participate in drive-thru Halloween events or contests where individuals dress up or decorate their vehicles and receive scores from “judges” who are maintaining appropriate physical distance.
Participate in one-way trick-or-treating, where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard).
*(Have you seen the “Boo-ing” trend? Drop treats for your neighbors. Learn more about how to boo your neighbors.)
Consider distributing treats other than candy, which parents can then sanitize before giving to kids: stickers in cellophane packaging, pencils, mini pumpkins, erasers, etc.
*(Indy with Kids families are setting up fun Halloween glow in the dark egg hunts for their children in their own yards)
Trick or Treat Alternatives Nearby
- Greenwood is hosting a Halloween parade instead of their Monster Mash Event.
- Fishers will move forward with their popular Boo Bash and Trick or Treat Trail.
- Whitestown is hosting a trick or treat trail.
- Irvington will have a Zombie Bike Ride as part of their Halloween festival.
- Several organizations are hosting Trunk or Treat events, but be sure to ask if their plans meet MCPHD guidelines.
* = Indy with Kids added information here and this is not official guidance from MCPHD but fits the criteria