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Oct 26, 2020

The pandemic is still with us as Halloween 2020 approaches! With care and creativity, the silly, spooky spirt of the holiday can safely haunt the late October air without the spread of tricky COVID-19. The safety tips gathered in this article will cover COVID-19 precautions for celebrating the holiday, as well as how to keep you and your trick-or-treaters safe on the dark streets.

Celebrate Halloween safely with these COVID-19 precautions:

  • Wear a cloth face covering anytime you are with people not from your household, whether indoors or outside. Remember, a plastic mask that comes with a child’s costume is not protective. But, do NOT wear a costume mask over a cloth mask because it can make breathing more difficult. Get your wheels turning and creatively to incorporate a face mask into your costume.
  • Avoid confined spaces. Outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities, but if you’re indoors, make sure to have proper ventilation, and even open doors and windows to the extent possible.
  • Avoid close contact with people outside of your household. Stay at least six feet away from people who are not part of your household. Caution your kids to wait their turn and not rush a bowl of candy with a group of other kids. Avoid gatherings, events, or parties that violate the gathering limitations outlined in Governor Inslee’s Safe Start Plan.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands (and the hands of little ones) often. If you’re going out, take hand sanitizer.
  • Stay home if you are sick or were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19. And, if you have symptoms or you’ve been in close contact to someone with COVID-19, get a COVID-19 test. Don’t open your door for trick-or-treaters if you are sick or have been exposed to the virus.
  • If you give out treats, greeting large groups of kids at your door is not recommended, but, sitting outside in a cloth face covering six feet away from a big bowl of candy or treat bags and complimenting the kids on their costumes as they choose a treat can be safe and fun. Dress warmly, play spooky music, and sip on a hot cup of tea or apple cider.

Now that we’ve covered COVID-19, the rest of our safety tips will focus on how to prevent pedestrian-motorist collisions. On average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween as on any other day of the year, according to Safe Kids USA.

Safety tips for trick-or-treaters!

  • Costumes should be easy to see out of and safe for walking in. Halloween masks that go over the eye area should have large eye holes, or choose face paint as a safer option. Leave any ill-fitting or precarious costume shoes at home, and choose footwear suitable for walking around safely. Pin up any parts of costumes that trail so they don’t cause tripping.
  • Adults should accompany children during trick-or-treating. (Also, adults have the special job of inspecting all candy at home in good light before it’s consumed.)
  • Be seen! Kids should carry flashlights or glow sticks, and attach reflective taps to costumes. Costumes light in color are more visible to motorists.
  • Walk; don’t run. Always cross streets in groups. Don’t assume a car is stopping before you enter the road. Kids should be cautioned to not cut into the street between parked cars and should instead cross at crosswalks and intersections, where possible. It’s so easy for the little ones to be excited and start running where they shouldn’t. Help them stay safe around moving vehicles.
  • If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic!

Safety Tips for Drivers

  • Exercise special caution when driving during trick-or-treating. Between approximately 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., expect extra foot traffic, and be ready to brake for excited children darting into the road.
  • Take it slow! Drive under the speed limit in residential areas.
  • Don’t be a distracted driver. Turn down the “Monster Mash” on the car stereo, and stay focused on the road.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, scanning corners and intersections for kids on the move. And take special care when pulling out of driveways or into the street.
  • When unloading costumed kiddos from a vehicle, have them exit curbside to keep them out of the street.
  • If there is a vehicle stopped in the road, be patient and don’t pass it. Children may suddenly unload into the roadway or run into the street to reach the vehicle.
  • If you see an intoxicated driver, report them to law enforcement by calling 9-1-1.

Halloween can also be a success as a fun night at home with ghost stories or (not-so) scary movies! Or, hide candy around the house, paint pumpkins, or do a costume photo shoot! Whatever delights your Halloween holds, keep safety in mind for you and your little goblins. And, if you’re still looking for a costume idea, we think firefighter is a winning look every year!

Additional resources and downloads:

  1. SVFD Halloween Fire Safety Tips (PDF)
  2. Safe Kids Halloween Safety Tips (PDF)
  3. Candle Safety (PDF)
  4. Jack o’ Lantern template (PDF)
  5. Sparky Spooky Sheet (PDF)
  6. Washington Department of Health: Halloween Safety


Did you Know?


  • You can sign up for a station tour. Great for small groups.
  • You should replace the batteries in your smoke alarms twice a year.
  • Creating a defensible space with regards to wildfires could just save your home or property.

Media Contact

  • Julie Happy
  • 509-892-4155

Commissioner Patrick Burch

Board Member Since: July 18, 2016
Current term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Burch was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in July 2016 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. He became a volunteer member of the Department’s CERT Team in 2008 and later served as a team leader/member of Fire Corps.

“I admire the Spokane Valley Fire Department’s focus on continuous improvement. Our dedication to the community, fiscal responsibility and the fact that we are one of the few accredited fire departments in the State of Washington all make SVFD great!”

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Burch was elected by voters in November 2017.

Commissioner Mike Kester

Board Member Since: January 1, 2020
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Mike Kester was elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners in November, 2019.

Commissioner Kester grew up in the Spokane area and has a deep appreciation for just how fortunate we all are to live in this beautiful area. He believes that being involved in this community is not something to take lightly.

His background includes joining the United States Coast Guard (U.S.C.G) after high school and serving on a port firefighting boat doing search and rescue in Portland, Oregon.  After the Coast Guard, he attended the University of Montana earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Resource Management.  He then went on to work for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, serving in their Parks Department.

Spokane was the next step in his career. He  went to work for the Burlington Santa Fe Railroad and the next 22 years was spent as a conductor moving freight. Commissioner Kester  retired in 2010 after a workplace injury and now,  he and his wife enjoy making meals for World War II Veterans, helping out at the YMCA ,and providing meals for those in need.

“In the 25 years of being a resident of the Spokane Valley the professionalism of the SVFD has inspired me to take an active part in bettering our community. We have one of the best fire departments in the whole Pacific Northwest. My wife and I have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. I have dedicated my life to keeping them safe.  I want to apply that dedication to our community.  Keeping us all safe is a goal we should all aspire to in one way or another. Communication within the department and with the public is, and always will be one of my primary goals.”

Commissioner John Guarisco

Board Member since: August 27, 2018
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2027

Commissioner Guarisco was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in August 2018 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. Commissioner Guarisco founded Marjoni Marketing in 2004 and in 2010 merged with MDI marketing. He then pursued Real Estate, earning his license and now, currently serves the greater Spokane area as a licensed Realtor. He has long been active in the community and has won numerous awards during his career including the Volunteer of the Year (2014) and the Community Caring Award (2010) from the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.  He is a member of the Greater Spokane Valley Rotary Club and holds an AA degree from Spokane Falls Community College.

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Guarisco was elected by voters in November 2019.

Commissioner Bill Anderson

Board Member since: January 1, 2000
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2023

Commissioner Anderson served our community as a Spokane Valley Fire Department firefighter for 29 years. Throughout his career, he worked as a firefighter, dispatcher and engineer before he was promoted and became an officer. He was Station Captain of Millwood Station 2 when he retired in 1999. During his years as firefighter, he was an active leader of Spokane Valley Firefighters Local 876 and served as a trustee on the Washington State Council of Firefighters for 25 years.

“It’s important to me that we continue the good service we’ve always given the people. We’ve accomplished a lot and are pulling in the same direction to get better. I’m very proud of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.”

Commissioner Brian Asmus

Board Member Since: June 14, 2021
Current term expires: 

Commissioner Brian Asmus was appointed to the Spokane Valley Fire Department Board of Fire Commissioners in 2021.

Commissioner Asmus is the former Liberty Lake Police Chief and current Director of Safety and Security at Central Valley School District (CVSD).

“Brian Asmus brings extensive Public Safety leadership experience, and a long history of being actively engaged in his community to his new role as a SVFD Commissioner,” said SVFD Fire Chief, Bryan Collins. “During his time as a Police Chief, Brian interacted with SVFD firefighters and administrators on a regular basis, making him very familiar with our structure, standing within our communities, as well as with many of our current SVFD board members and personnel. Brian’s experience working and collaborating on regional issues aligns nicely with SVFD’s philosophy and will help us continue to be a catalyst for local and regional excellence and innovation.”