Hershey's New Trick-or-Treating Safety Site Is Here to Help Families Understand the COVID-19 Risk in Their Area

It'll be a Halloween like we've never seen before, but Hershey is trying to make it safe and keep it fun.

Hands Picking Candy From Halloween Basket
Photo: Oliver Kramm/EyeEm/Getty Images

What's Halloween 2020 going to look like? Depending what the COVID-19 transmission rate looks like where you live, festivities will likely either be modified or canceled completely because of the pandemic—but that doesn't mean you can't still celebrate with your kiddos. Because COVID-19 is ever-changing, parents are responsible for tracking what things look like near them—and what that could mean for their family's holiday plans. That's where Hershey—beloved Halloween candy maker—comes in.

Using a genius map from the Harvard Global Health Institute, Hershey just launched a Halloween 2020 safety website—complete with a look at COVID-19 risk across the U.S. and ways to safely celebrate depending on the risk level in different areas. Parents can easily search for their state and county using the map and quickly find out how their area fares using a color-coded system—ranging from green, which is the lowest risk, to red, which is the highest risk. Depending on the color zone designated for your area, Hershey has ideas to safely celebrate Halloween. Here's a peek at how activities break down by risk level.

Green Zone: Lowest Risk

  • Trick or treat following health guidelines, which means wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.
  • Visit official trick or treat "safehouses" that will have extra precautions—like tables or 6-foot markers set up to enforce social distancing—to keep things safe.
  • Throw a neighborhood costume party outdoors, complete with social distancing and masks, of course.

Yellow Zone: Mid-Low Risk

  • Trick or treat following health guidelines, but make sure you're only visiting select houses that are taking steps to keep things safe.
  • "Yeet the treats," or have neighbors throw candy down to kids from a distance.
  • Set up a costume parade or family pet parade, where parents, kids, and pets can show off costumes while spreading out. Extra points for sanitizing stations and markers to designate 6 feet on the route!

Orange Zone: Mid-Low Risk

  • Trick or treat in reverse, meaning kids stay put at home and adults drive by to drop off treats.
  • Celebrate costume week—wear your costume all week long while running errands, walking the dog, and even on Zoom!
  • Plan a neighborhood candy hunt, where goodies are strategically placed for kids to find—while keeping a distance and limiting contact.

Red Zone: Highest Risk

  • Opt for a limited invite party and celebrate Halloween with just the VIPS in your life.
  • Throw a Netflix party, complete with Halloween flicks for the whole family.
  • Make your's a scavenger hunt house, with candy, toys, and prizes set up in different rooms.

Make It Safe, Keep It Fun

So, how are your Halloween plans shaping up? While Hershey's new website is an easy way for parents to map out risk near them and make plans, it's still important to follow the recommendations and safety guidelines of local health officials—and revise your trick-or-treating game plan if necessary.

And, of course, it's important to remember some over-arching safety guidelines no matter where you live to keep things a little more fun and a little less spooky: stay home if you're sick, remain 6 feet apart, wear a mask, wash your hands or use sanitizer, and inspect candy before consuming anything.

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