FALLS CHURCH, VA — The City of Falls Church is not making a decision on whether residents can trick-or-treat, but guidance on the risk of Halloween activities is provided.

The city’s guidance is in line with the Centers for Disease Control recommendations for Halloween and other fall activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, the Fairfax County Health Department, which covers the county and cities of Falls Church and Fairfax, recommended against traditional door-to-door trick-or-treat.

“Some Halloween activities pose higher risk than others,” said Fairfax Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu in a statement. “In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.”

Below are the activities considered to be high, medium and low risk.

Highest Risk

  • Traditional door-to-door trick or treating

  • Trunk-or-treat events

  • Crowded events, especially indoor gatherings

Medium Risk

  • Low or no-touch trick-or-treating

  • Goodie bags from a social distance, like at the end of a driveway

  • Outdoor, distanced, costume parade

  • Outdoor, distanced movie night

Low Risk

  • Pumpkin carving at home with family

  • Outdoor, distance pumpkin carving with friends

  • Decorating at home

  • Outdoor scavenger hunt in your neighborhood

  • Virtual costume contest

Since Falls Church does not set trick-or-treat hours, it typically happens on the evening of Oct. 31. According to Virginia Patch’s informal survey of more than 500 Virginia readers in late September, 46.9 percent of respondents said their kids will not trick-or-treat, 36.3 percent said they will, and 16.8 percent were unsure.

The annual Halloween Carnival is canceled this year, but the Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department is hosting alternative events for children.

Hallow-Scream Scavenger Hunt

Between Oct. 23 and Nov. 1, six signs will be hidden in these City of Falls Church parks:

  • Cavalier Trail Park (600 South Maple Avenue)

  • Cherry Hill Park (312 Park Avenue)

  • Crossman Park (535 North Van Buren Street)

  • Howard E Herman Stream Valley Park (601 West Broad Street)

  • Lincoln Park (507 Great Falls Street)

  • West End Park (1048 West Broad Street)

Each sign will have a letter. Find all the signs and unscramble the letters to reveal the Hallow-Scream code word, and you’ll win a free Hallow-Scream Scavenger Hunt t-shirt. The Hallow-Scream Scavenger Hunt is geared more towards younger children.Download an official form and the list of clues to track the code word, or make your own form. Send completed forms with the letters and unscrambled code word, contact information and t-shirt sizes to [email protected] by Nov. 1 to win a t-shirt.

Halloween Pop-Up Park Events

Halloween Pop-Up events will be held on Saturday, Oct. 31. Residents can attend different events at three parks: Pumpkin Painting, Birdhouse Painting, or Scarecrow Making. Activities are geared toward children between ages 1 to 13. Registration is open to City of Falls Church residents, and each time slot will be limited to 10 participants. There will be social distancing and a mask requirement. Costumes are encouraged.

Here are the details of each event:

  • Pumpkin Painting Pop-up

    • Saturday, Oct. 31

    • Cherry Hill Park Picnic Shelter (312 Park Avenue)

    • 30 minute activity; Eight timeslots available (from 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.)

    • $6 per child. All supplies will be provided and cleaned between sessions.

    • Register online via Webtrac

  • Birdhouse Painting

    • Saturday, Oct. 31

    • Berman Park Picnic Shelter (236 Irving Street)

    • 30 minute activity; Eight timeslots available (from 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.)

    • $4 per child. All supplies will be provided and cleaned between sessions.

  • Scarecrow Making

    • Saturday, Oct. 31

    • Frady Park Gazebo (311 East Broad Street)

    • 45 minute activity; Six timeslots available (from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.)

    • $10 per family/household. Each family or household will be allowed to make one scarecrow. We ask that each family or household bring child size clothing and scissors. You will be provided with everything else, including twine, hay, burlap, felt and glue.

    • Register online via Webtrac

This article originally appeared on the Falls Church Patch

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