How to safely celebrate holidays without going out

How to safely celebrate holidays without going out

The holidays will no doubt look a little different this year as we continue to navigate through this COVID-19 pandemic. But don’t let the coronavirus spoil your holiday fun. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers some alternatives to help you celebrate safely.

The CDC recommends that people who have COVID-19 or those who have been exposed should not attend holiday celebrations.  This includes anyone who has been tested but has not gotten their results back.

Those who are immunocompromised or high-risk should also sit this year out and avoid anyone who doesn’t live with them.  

Here are some other ways you can have fun and celebrate the holidays without posing a risk to yourself or others.

Two kids carving pumpkins for Halloween; COVID-19 safety
Two kids carving pumpkins


Halloween can be especially exciting for children, who may be looking forward to dressing up and going trick-or-treating. To minimize your risk, try these activities instead:

  • Carve pumpkins with your family
  • Challenge your neighbors to a pumpkin carving competition and carve outside, then display your work on your front porch
  • Dress up and have a virtual costume party with your friends and family
  • Buy a boombox or stereo system and play Halloween music for your neighbors and you to dance to, at a safe distance
  • Have a scary movie marathon with the people you live with
  • Create a scavenger hunt for Halloween-themed items or candy around your house and send your kids on an adventure
A bunch of painted sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos - a safer way to celebrate during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dia de los Muertos

Like Halloween parties, families typically come together to celebrate Dia de los Muertos with food, festivities and tradition. Instead of inviting a bunch of people who don’t live in your house over to meet at a community ofrenda (altar to honor the dead), try these safer alternatives:

  • Prepare traditional family recipes and leave them on the porch of your friends and family
  • Decorate your home and play music your deceased loved ones would have loved, then record video of your celebration to share on social media
  • Record yourself and your family listening to traditional music or doing chants to share with others on social media
  • Meet with other family members and friends virtually to enjoy your celebration
  • Get the family together to decorate sugar skull masks or create paper marigolds
  • Set out pillows and blankets around your home for the deceased
  • Watch Disney’s “Coco,” or other Dia de los Muertos movies your children might enjoy
  • Visit the graves of your deceased loved ones with those in your household and take turns leaving items with other family members
Computer screen with zoom call to celebrate holidays safely during COVID-19 pandemic


The whole point of Thanksgiving is to come together as a family and reflect on all the things we’re thankful for throughout the year. Many travel long distances to be with family members they haven’t seen in ages. This year, there’s a greater risk in a traditional Thanksgiving celebration due to COVID-19. Here are some safer ways to celebrate, without giving up that important family connection:

  • Share your recipes with friends and family and make a full Thanksgiving meal for those in your household. Share photos or video with each other of what you’re thankful for
  • Cook a meal for those in your community who might not be able to find a safe way to celebrate with others. Deliver it to them in a way that minimizes contact. Remember, wear a mask if you’re preparing meals for others
  • Set up a virtual dinner or celebration where you and your family can share what you’re thankful for together
  • Plan out all your Black Friday shopping online rather than going to stores the next day
  • Watch all the traditional festivities including sports and parades from the safety of your home
  • Start a new family tradition like picking a new family movie or creating an arts and crafts project with your kids
  • Visit a pumpkin patch or orchard. Be sure to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer before picking any pumpkins or fruit
  • Play games with your family in the back yard

There are many alternatives to celebrating the holidays, but some might wish to host small events and invite others over. That’s okay, too. The CDC has recommendations on how to safely celebrate the holidays should you choose to be a bit more traditional.

No matter how you choose to celebrate, remember these tips to keep yourself safe:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Wear your mask
  • Try to stay six feet apart from people you don’t live with
  • Stay home if you don’t feel well

Together, we can continue to fight the spread of COVID-19.