MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County Health Department is revising its recommendations for Halloween trick or treating. While it originally said trick or treating is not recommended, it’s now releasing best practices if families choose the holiday tradition.
Like a lot of things in our lives right now, the same rules go for trick or treating. Wear a mask, wash your hands and remember to practice social distancing.
“It’s a hard time. You’re touching the same candy from the same bowl,” Memphis mom Brooke Wilson said.
Wilson has yet to break it to one of her sons Halloween may look a little different this year.
“The main thing is they want to dress up and show off their costumes,” Wilson said.
“We hope to trick or treat whatever that may look like,” Collierville dad Jake Gaines said.
Earlier this week, the Shelby County Health Department said trick or treating is not recommended because of the risk of COVID-19. On Thursday, it sent out revised recommendations on the holiday tradition, saying the practice still poses a risk, but there are some best practices to trick or treat as safely as you can.
Those include avoiding direct contact with trick or treaters- like creating a station for individually bagged treats to be picked up, hand out treats outside, wear a mask, and wash your hands.
“I heard some neighbors are going to put bags at the end of the street,” Gaines said.
The Health Department said some safer alternatives to trick or treating include online parties, Halloween movie nights, decorating lawns, and drive-by events.
“The oldest just really wants to stay home and watch a Halloween movie and eat his favorite candy,” Wilson said. “I don’t mind going to Target and getting a bag of candy so we can celebrate.”
In its first revision of its Halloween guidelines, the Health Department said Halloween events or parties that encourage large numbers of people even outside are not permitted.
That left one popular Halloween event in jeopardy and left some WMC Action News 5 viewers to wonder if it did go on, was it in violation of the Health Department’s guidelines.
For the last five years, Jerred Price has hosted the Memphis Monster Mash to raise money for different nonprofits. He planned to host the event this year outside and with fewer people, but after the Health Department released those guidelines he said he immediately called to check about his party.
“I called as soon as they released that and said hey is this something I need to postpone, or do we need to cancel the event,” Price said. “They said no, not large gatherings. So to them outdoors anything under 200 is considered a small gathering.”
Price is only admitting 100 people to his party. On Thursday, the Health Department revised what is not permitted this holiday to say “Festivals, fairs, parades, large-scale sporting events, and large-scale community events unless the Department has approved a site-specific plan for the event.”
WMC Action News 5 reached out to the Health Department about the Memphis Monster Mash but have not heard back.
Price said about a quarter of the tickets for the Monster Mash have been sold, but you can find a link to tickets here.