Cody’s annual Halloween celebration is on this year with only minor changes despite COVID-19 restrictions.
Kenny Lee, owner of Cowtown Candy and part of the Cody Chamber of Commerce Events Committee, said the main difference this year is business owners are being asked to wear gloves when they hand out candy.
“All of the other requirements that have been communicated to us, we already do, when we hand out candy to the trick-or-treating crowd,” he said. “I expect that the trick or treaters will be wearing masks of some sort and practicing social distancing.”
He said he thought most businesses downtown, and some businesses from other parts of town, would be participating.
As in past years people can go to Albertsons to purchase candy for businesses to distribute.
At Tuesday’s Cody City Council meeting, members unanimously approved a street closure for the Oct. 31 event as part of the consent agenda.
As for trick or treaters and their parents, chamber director Tina Hoelbelheinrich estimated around 800 would participate in her request for the street closure.
The vote puts to bed a torrent of questions on social media where people were asking whether the major fall event would be happening this year due to public health concerns.
State public health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist also weighed in to confirm outdoor Halloween events could be done safely this year.
“Halloween is around the corner and it is not canceled, but safety remains important,” she said at a Monday press conference. “There are still ways to have fun while also being safe.”
She said general safety regulations around the virus apply.
“Our primary recommendations for helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our everyday lives, such as appropriate physical distancing and the use of cloth face coverings, also apply to celebrations,” Harrist said. “And, of course, if you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in holiday activities.”
Common ways of celebrating Halloween or Día de los Muertos that are high-risk and not recommended this year include:
• Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
• Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
• Attending large indoor celebrations with singing or chanting
• Participating in other crowded indoor gatherings, events or dinner parties
Traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door remains an option this year in Wyoming.
“If children and their family escorts remain outdoors without staying more than a few minutes at each home, and the people giving the treats do not invite them indoors, the risk associated with this activity can be lowered,” Harrist said. “Trunk-or-treat events where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots can also be lower risk if everyone remains outdoors, avoids gathering in large groups and moves through quickly.”
Costume and mask-related advice includes:
• Do not use costume masks as substitutes for cloth masks unless made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose without gaps around the face.
• Do not wear costume masks over cloth masks because it can be dangerous if the costume masks makes it hard to breathe.
Other safe ways to celebrate Halloween or Día de los Muertos that do not increase risk of COVID-19 transmission include:
• Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
• Decorating your home
• Making and decorating masks or making an altar for the deceased
• Visiting and decorating graves of loved ones with household members only and keeping more than 6 feet away from others who may be in the area
To find more detailed fall celebration guidance from WDH, visit: health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/covid-19-orders-and-guidance/.