Americans are encouraged to participate in autumnal activities with members of their own household
Rear view of boy and sisters trick or treating walking on sidewalk
Trick or treaters
| Credit: Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is laying out guidelines for celebrating fall holidays amid the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The guidelines, shared on the CDC's website Tuesday, include a list of low, moderate and high-risk activities as people prepare to celebrate Halloween next month.

Families with children used to going door-to-door to trick-or-treat, young adults who might be used to attending large costume parties, and people who usually flock to crowded bars may all have to re-think how to spend Halloween this year, as all of those activities are labeled high-risk by the CDC.

Instead, the CDC encourages people to participate in low-risk activities, including autumnal traditions like pumpkin carving and watching scary movies with members of your own household or virtually.

An open-air costume party with guests wearing masks and staying six feet apart poses a moderate risk, the guidelines say, as does an outdoor "haunted forest," rather than an indoor haunted house.

However, the CDC notes that if any activity will likely include screaming, a distance of more than six feet is recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For those who enjoy visiting pumpkin patches or orchards, the CDC recommends using hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, and to always wear masks and social distance.

The guidelines come nearly two weeks after Los Angeles County health officials in California walked back a previous ban on trick-or-treating this Halloween, though the activity is still not recommended.

A critical eye has been on the CDC this week after the agency removed guidance about the way COVID-19 spreads from its website. According to the New York Times, the CDC said that the language had been removed because it was a draft that went up in error, and that the guidance would soon be posted once complete.

There have been more than 6.9 million reported cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of Tuesday, according to data from the NYT, and the virus is now the third-largest killer of Americans.

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