Safety comes first this Halloween

Halloween is back, and Chicago is ready to celebrate — safely.

Last October, rising Covid-19 cases kept people indoors. Now, according to the Chicago Data Portal, over 59 percent of Chicago residents are fully vaccinated as of Oct. 21, giving community members peace of mind.

“Last year, we did not go trick-or-treating,” Alexandra Harris, of Lincoln Park and mother of three, said via email. “We just had a small ‘Halloween party’ with another family who we see very regularly — our ‘bubble family.’”

This year, Harris plans on going trick-or-treating with her children on North Fremont Street and is considering wearing masks outdoors to take precaution.

“I have not talked about this extensively with my kids, but I think I want them to wear masks,” Harris said. “Even though it is an outside activity, there are always a lot of people out and about and I think masks would be the safest option.”

To help keep people safe at Halloween festivities, the city of Chicago released the Halloweek safety guidelines.

On Oct. 12, Mayor Lori. Lightfoot and city departments announced the return of Halloweek in a press release.

“We are so proud of how far our city has come in regards to COVID-19, and we are excited to celebrate Halloween safely once again in 2021…  and we aim to keep our numbers low as we head deeper into Fall,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said in the press release.

Halloweek precautions recommend wearing masks regardless of vaccination status whenever social distancing cannot be maintained in an outdoor event. Masks should be required for indoor events and are recommended for outdoor events where vaccination status of attendees is unknown, according to the guidelines.

The city’s guidelines also recommend trick-or-treaters eat their candy after washing or sanitizing their hands along with trick-or-treating in small groups to avoid over-congregating. Those passing out candy should sanitize or wash their hands frequently and keep a safe distance from trick-or-treaters.

Beyond collecting candy on Halloween night, there are dozens of local events leading up to the holiday.

Fall Fest at the Lincoln Park Zoo is taking place through Oct. 31. Walk through the pumpkin patch and enjoy various food and beverage options.

Ballet Folklorico de Chicago is hosting their Dia de Muerto event at Eckhart Part at 6 p.m. on Oct. 29.

The Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade is on the eve of Halloween at 6 p.m. in the Loop on State Street.

Some hesitation remains when it comes to celebrating the Halloween season.

“I don’t have any plans,” said DePaul junior Talia Kendall. “I feel like if you’re outside, it’s probably fine to go out without a mask, but definitely [for] inside parties, wear a mask, [but] you can’t social distance too much inside. It’s a little bit contradictory.”

Kendall said she would feel conflicted if she heard there was a large Halloween gathering among her student peers.

“On one hand, I love to do stuff like that. On the other hand, [it’s our] first year being back on campus from Covid, I wouldn’t know what to do,” Kendall said.

The Halloweek guidelines are in place to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and ensure safe celebrations. Find more information on the city’s guidelines at