NEW BERLIN, Wis. - Wisconsin has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases after each major holiday during the pandemic. Is Halloween next?
Public health officials have offered guidance regarding holiday gatherings, such as trick-or-treating: don't do it.
In New Berlin on Halloween, Oct. 31, having your porch light on between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. will mean you're giving out candy -- porch light off means you're not participating in trick-or-treat.
"We're not going to do as much as we would have done," said parent Mandy Nowaczynski.
Nowaczynski has her son's Halloween costume picked out, but still has reservations about celebrating the holiday during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"They'll wear their masks -- so they will have their masks under their masks, I guess you'd say, so they will have two on," Nowaczynski said.
Ryan Wozniak, supervisor of vector-borne respiratory and invasive diseases unit with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), said even trick-or-treating outdoors comes with its own risks.
"It is possible if you are walking by somebody...and you're passing each other and one person sneezes in your direction -- that could be enough to transmit the disease," said Wozniak.
The DHS is discouraging going from neighbor-to-neighbor this year and any party that includes people from outside your household.
Instead, Wozniak said that having virtual gatherings -- costume parties or scary movie nights -- are an option.
New Berlin is stressing "personal responsibility" and advising against "help yourself candy bowls."
In fact, the recommendation in New Berlin is that kids wear plastic disposable gloves when getting cansy.
The DHS recommends avoiding trick-or-treating altogether.
"I think we should do everything we can while we can to be as safe as possible going into the fall and winter," Wozniak said.
With flu season just around the corner, Wisconsin may be heading into the worst period yet of the COVID-19 pandemic.