Ohio guidelines discourage traditional trick-or-treating

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Traditional trick-or-treating should be avoided this year and haunted houses and hayrides should be canceled, the Ohio Department of Health said Friday as it released a series of non-binding recommendations.

Communities should consider alternatives such as drive-through events with children in cars collecting treats from individuals spaced at least six feet apart or decorating houses and hiding treats outside, according to the guidelines.

“It is strongly recommended that Ohioans exercise caution when deciding to participate in trick-or-treating and events that put them in close contact with people outside their households,” said the recommendations from interim Health Director Lance Himes.

The Health Department also says large in-person parties shouldn’t be held.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has said that decisions to allow trick-or-treating will be up to local communities. Some in Ohio have already canceled trick-or-treating this year, while other municipalities are waiting to make decisions closer to the end of October.

Ohio reported 1,011 probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, below the 21-day average of 1,070. The state has reported more than 142,000 cases, and 4,608 deaths.