CSU encouraging safe public health behaviors Halloween weekend

With COVID-19 cases rising in Larimer County and Fall Break in sight, Colorado State University is encouraging students and the university community to avoid letting their guard down over Halloween weekend.

Off-Campus Life and the CSU Health Network are partnering to provide key messages on important public health behaviors for Halloween weekend. The tips range from wearing face coverings to keeping gatherings small.

Jenn “JR” Rieskamp, community liaison specialist between Off-Campus Life at CSU and Neighborhood Services at the City of Fort Collins, said Halloween is traditionally a time for larger social gatherings. Last year, Off-Campus Life had 100 registered parties for Halloween, more than double the number of registered parties in a typical weekend.

“This year in particular, we have to be super intentional about how we’re getting together and how we’re being social,” Rieskamp said. “It’s important that folks continue to stay the course. We can’t deviate right now, even though it’s been a long haul.”

Rieskamp said students have overall been really intentional with their social behaviors, noting students did a good job of keeping gatherings small over Labor Day weekend in September.

Monica Keele, manager of substance abuse prevention and assessment at the CSU Health Network, said the Health Network typically focuses on substance abuse prevention around Halloween, a time when risk-specific behaviors are more likely to occur.

“This year is a little different,” Keele said. “It’s not that limiting alcohol abuse has lowered in priority; we are still concerned about those things. But some of the tips that Off-Campus Life is putting out are tangentially connected to mitigating substance abuse.”

Like Labor Day, Off-Campus Life is using its Party Registration System, which provides some additional COVID-19-specific education around gatherings.

Off-Campus Life and the CSU Health Network also will be sharing key public health behavior messages on CSU social media channels.

“We’re really promoting responsible social gathering tips on Halloween,” Rieskamp said. “What we’re trying to drive home is: Hey, you’re a few weeks away from (fall) break. Keep spooky times in October. Don’t take COVID-19 home for break.”

Halloween party registration

The deadline for registering for a Halloween party is Thursday, Oct. 29, by 5 p.m. For more on party registration and responsible social gathering tips, visit wsnet2.colostate.edu/cwis466/partysmart for more information.