The agency issued a statement specifically denying it said costumed chickens were a bad idea.
Credit: Fernando Trabanco Fotografía/Getty Images

Why did the chicken wearing a costume cross the road? Because it’s Halloween. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is totally cool with that.

In one of the stranger government announcements you will ever see, the CDC issued a statement recently clarifying “Erroneous Media Reports About Chickens and Halloween Costumes.” (Yes, that’s capitalized because that was the title of the statement.) A couple weeks ago, some news outlets were running a different headline: For example, “CDC says don't dress your chickens in Halloween costumes” as news station KNOE wrote.

Though the CDC doesn’t directly address where the misunderstanding came from, the agency did explicitly retort, “Despite news reports to the contrary, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not warned people against dressing chickens in Halloween costumes.” Instead, the organization stressed that, just like when handling chicken meat in the kitchen, live chickens can also be a source of Salmonella and other germs. As a result, the CDC reminded everyone that “we do advise people with backyard or pet chickens to handle them carefully to keep their family and their chickens safe and healthy.”

Tips include things like “always wash your hands after touching chickens or anything in their environment,” don’t bring your live chickens into your house, don’t eat or drink near where the bird live or hang out, and don’t let children under five years old hold or touch chickens. Additionally, the CDC writes, “Don’t kiss your birds or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth”—something they’ve made abundantly clear in the past.

Making things even more bizarre, the CDC now finds itself in the position giving advice to people who do plan on dressing their chickens up for Halloween how to best go about it. The agency apparently told Live Science they recommend washing the chicken costume in the washing machine in hot water after it's been worn by the bird and also washing your hands after handling the costume. Additionally, for the good of the bird, a spokesperson stated, “Make sure your chicken can breathe and walk normally while wearing the costume.”

Maybe also refrain from letting the chicken eat too much candy after trick-or-treating to keep it from getting a tummy ache and having nightmares? Actually, we gotta double-check with the CDC on that one.