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Kanawha County issued guidance Wednesday for safe trick-or-treating on Halloween this year and is asking for public input on how to ensure children can safely celebrate the holiday.

The Kanawha County Commission advised holding trick or treat from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31, a Saturday. The time and date are not binding for any cities or municipalities in the county — it is just a recommendation.

For those not wanting to participate in trick or treat, commissioners advised leaving your home’s outdoor or porch light off. The commission asks that those participating respect the houses that aren’t.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised “many traditional Halloween activities can be high risk for spreading viruses” and “there are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween.” There is a complete list of low-, moderate- and high-risk Halloween activities on the CDC’s website.

Trick-or-treating in a yard or driveway, and setting up individually wrapped goodie bags for easy grab-and-go, is considered a moderate-risk activity by the CDC.

Traditional trick-or-treating — knocking on doors and reaching into a communal bowl for individual candy — is considered a high-risk activity.

Public input for how the county can safely hold trick or treat can be directed to the county’s Facebook post calling for comment, or by directly contacting the commission. Final guidance and other details will be given within the next two weeks.

Commission President Kent Carper said Wednesday that if there is a significant surge in positive COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks, the county may advise no celebration at all. But, he said, trick-or-treating is an activity that “can absolutely be done safely,” if people commit to mask wearing and social distancing.

Reach Joe Severino at, 304-348-4814 or follow

@jj_severino on Twitter.