Minnesota health officials point to CDC recommendations for safe Halloween

Children in Halloween costumes go trick-or-treating in Straubing, Germany, 31 October 2014. Photo: ARMIN WEIGEL/dpa | usage worldwide (Photo by Armin Weigel/picture alliance via Getty Images) ((Photo by Armin Weigel/picture alliance via Getty Images))

Minnesota state health officials are reiterating recommendations released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to celebrate a safe Halloween amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Public health recommendations are not intended to ruin your fun, but to keep you safe. It’s the virus that is the buzzkill here," said Kris Ehresmann, the infectious disease director at the Minnesota Department of Health.

During Wednesday's coronavirus briefing, Minnesota health leaders shared the CDC's Halloween guidelines, which were released earlier this week. The CDC categorized activities as low risk, moderate risk and high risk. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating was labeled as "high risk," and the CDC recommended people to avoid the popular activity.

A one-way trick-or-treating event where people can pick up individually packed goodie bags is considered a moderate risk. Ehresmann says it's important for those making the goodie bags to wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds before and after. 

Ehresmann also noted that while many Halloween costumes may include a mask, a costume mask does not replace wearing a cloth mask. 

Health leaders in other places across the country, including Los Angeles County in California, have discouraged trick-or-treating. Activities that allow for more social distancing, such as a virtual costume contest or pumpkin carving, with household members have been recommended.

Anoka, which is known as the "Halloween Capital of the World," is taking a free spin on holiday favorites. For example, the Grande Day Parade this year will have several different locations throughout the city where people can park and watch the action from their vehicles.