Celebrating a COVID-19 Smart Halloween This Year

Photo: Olivia Danielvitch

Little ghosts and goblins, creepy little critters and now a pandemic will certainly make for a spookier Halloween this year and while most of the traditional ways of celebrating Halloween will be considerably scarier this year because they bring the risk of spreading COVID-19, there are some ways to enjoy the spooky day. 

While the day will look different this year, it can still be fun if you plan ahead for a safe holiday. How to do that:

Assess your risk: If you have risk factors or are over 65, don’t open your door to trick-or- treaters. If you want to go walking and observe the celebration, do so at a safe distance and wear a mask. Make a sign to hang on your door to let people know you’re not participating. 

Costumes: Wear a mask while you’re trick-or-treating. A costume mask isn’t a substitute for a cloth mask unless it’s made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers your mouth and nose. 

Candy: Make sure you provide individually wrapped candy. As fun as homemade candy apples are, you shouldn’t give them out this year! 

Hand out candy safely: Don’t allow dozens of hands to reach into the same candy bowl or picky trick-or-treaters to rifle through your candy to find the best one. Use tongs to remove the candy from the bowl and drop it into each trick-or-treater’s bag. 

Wear a mask when you open the door. Wash your hands frequently.

Trick-or-treating can be done safely

Trick-or-treating is largely an outside activity and is a much better option than an indoor gathering. While wearing a mask and keeping a six-foot distance is key, kids and families can trick-or-treat in a safe way.

  1. Keep your mask on at all times.
  2. Stay six feet away from others.
  3. If there’s already a group of kids at one door, wait until they leave before approaching. 
  4. Don’t linger at any one house for more than a few minutes.
  5. Don’t let your kids eat candy along the way until it can be wiped down at the end of the night.

What to do when you get home

Once you’re home from trick-or-treating the impulse might be to dive right into eating candy but remember to first:

  1. Wash your hands and your child’s hands.
  2. Wipe down candy wrappers with a disinfectant wipe before your child eats anything. Don’t wipe the candy itself; that would be dangerous.
  3. Throw away any candy that isn’t individually wrapped

Don’t take frightening risks this Halloween!

Low-risk activities

  1. Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household.
  2. Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends.
  3. Decorating your house, apartment, or living space.
  4. Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt.
  5. Having a virtual Halloween costume contest.
  6. Halloween movie night with the people you live with.
  7. Scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home.

Moderate-risk activities

  1. One-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for kids to grab.
  2. Small-group outdoor costume parade where people are six feet apart.
  3. Attending a costume party outdoors where protective masks are used and people can social distance.
  4. Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where mask use is enforced.
  5. Pumpkin patches or orchards.
  6. Outdoor Halloween movie night with local family and friends spaced at least six feet apart.

High-risk activities. 

Please avoid these to prevent the spread of COVID-19!

  1. Traditional trick-or-treating without masks and social distancing.
  2. Crowded costume parties held indoors.
  3. Indoor haunted houses.
  4. Hayrides or tractor rides with people who aren’t in your household.
  5. Traveling to a rural fall festival outside of your community.