Since COVID-19 landed in Guam in March, social distancing has become a new normal, changing the way we live our daily lives and celebrate birthdays and our favorite traditions, such as Halloween.

There's been a recent spike of COVID-19 cases. As of Oct. 22, Guam's youth, age 19 and younger, have seen 700 confirmed cases. They make up 17.3% of the 4,056 confirmed cases Guam has seen since March.

The surge in numbers began in August when the pandemic claimed its first child on Guam, a 10-year-old boy, said Department of Public Health and Social Services spokeswoman Janela Carrera.

She said data indicate that the cases in Guam's youth population are related to household spread, meaning that a family member had caught the virus and passed it on to those living in the same home.

Considering the seriousness of COVID-19 and how quickly the virus that causes it can spread, the island must understand that social distancing and staying home still apply, even if it is a popular holiday typically filled with community and family-centered events, Carrera said.

Public Health highly advises against door-to-door trick-or-treating. Instead, officials encourage at-home, household-only celebrations. The department also noted that gatherings of more than five people are prohibited.

Household holiday

With these restrictions, many wonder what fun can be had this Halloween. Here are some suggestions on how Guam's teens and their families can have a spooky but safe Halloween in the midst of a pandemic:

Spooky extravaganza

What better way to make an at-home Halloween night festive than having a spooky movie night and Halloween costume extravaganza? With the individuals in your home, set a theme for a Halloween movie night and costume party. On the night of Halloween, gather in your costumes and watch your favorite spooky movies, with festive snacks. Afterward, vote who has the best costume! Give a prize to the person with the best costume, giving your celebrants something to look forward to. Not only will you be able to dress up and feel the Halloween spirit, but you will create a lifelong memory with those in your home. The best part of this activity? You can do it virtually or make it your own!

Trick-or-treat hunt – but scratch the trick!

Halloween would not be the same without candy! Gather your household, dress up in costumes and create a candy hunt, as you would with Easter eggs. Compete with your household members to see who can retrieve the most candy. To spook things up, add prizes! Just as you would for Easter, you create prizes for the person who collects the most candy and the person who collects the least. This fusion of Halloween and Easter is a fun activity that people of all ages can delight in!

While holiday traditions are important, the safety of the community is even more important. As COVID-19 cases are on a continuous rise, we are given a prime example of why safe, household holiday celebrations are the better alternative to the usual public gatherings.

Even more options

Here are some other activities from DPHSS designed to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection:

  • Decorating and carving pumpkins with only those in the same household.
  • Decorating your home.
  • Admiring Halloween decorations in your neighborhood, at a distance.
  • Reading classic Halloween stories with those in your household.
  • Baking Halloween-themed cookies.
  • Watching Halloween-themed movies or shows at home.
  • Hiding Halloween treats in and around the house.
  • Participating in safe curbside trick-or-treating events sponsored by responsible businesses.
  • Holding drive-by costume or car-decorating contests with judges who are physically distanced.

Happy Halloween from the Scoop!

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