October 13, 2020

Halloween celebrations looked a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but families were still looking forward to celebrating the spookiest holiday of the year, according to the National Confectioners Association.

Even though there were fewer monsters mashing, ghouls and goblins on the streets, and vampires stalking the night, the Halloween & Costume Association (HCA), together with its partners including The Hershey Company, created guidelines to help communities and families foster a safe and fun Halloween night of trick or treating.

“We want parents to know that there are definitely ways to safely celebrate Halloween this year,” Michele Buggy, CAE, executive director for the HCA said.

Buggy saw that the Harvard Global Health Institute had been mapping the COVID-19 risk levels for each county in the country.

“I said, ‘How do we take that map and help people understand what they can do based on their risk level?’” Buggy said. “The problem we were facing is that the guidelines weren’t going to be the same across the country.”

HCA contacted the Harvard Global Health Institute, which allowed the HCA to use their mapping system and endorsed HCA’s guidelines.


COVID-19 Risk Map by County

Halloween2020.org displayed four different COVID-19 risk levels: green, yellow, orange, and red. Those colors correspond to colored zones that allowed users to see the activities deemed safest during Halloween in their zone.

The Green Zone (the lowest risk level) suggested going to Trunk-or-Treats or visiting official trick or treat safehouses, while the Red Zone (the highest risk level) suggested holding Zoom parties or a scavenger hunt house.

COVID-19 risk zones for safe halloween activities

Dr. Ingrid Katz, infectious diseases expert, and associate faculty director at the Harvard Global Health Institute said in a press release that she hopes that the interactive map is a reliable source to help families celebrate Halloween in the safest and most fun way possible.

“We are on a mission to ensure the safest Halloween celebration possible this year and want to make sure families and communities have access to the best, up-todate guidance that prioritizes community safety,” Kevin Johnson, chairman of the HCA and chief excitement officer at Elope said in a press release.

The guidelines were in development for months and aligned with social distancing precautions established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The guidelines were also endorsed by the National Retail Federation, UNICEF, Spirit, fun.com and the National Confectioners Association to promote a safe Halloween.


The HCA had some help spreading the word about Halloween safety in 2020 from its partner, The Hershey Company.

“We approached Hershey and told them about what we were doing, they thought it was really spot on,” Buggy said. “They actually had their own Halloween happiness initiative, and so our efforts tied in really nicely.”

In addition to providing insight on the guidelines, Hershey helped expand the reach of the HCA’s guidelines by sharing them with the Hershey network and on the company’s social media channels.

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