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Halloween during COVID-19: Safe trick-or-treat alternatives

By Children’s Health | Contributor

Due to COVID-19, activities and holiday celebrations have been different this year, and Halloween will be no exception. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against some traditional Halloween festivities for 2020. Although this may be disappointing, do not fear. There are other ways your family can safely celebrate Halloween.

While Halloween is a highly anticipated occasion, the Children’s Health℠ Infectious Diseases Program urges that safety should be top of mind. If you may have COVID-19 or have been exposed to anyone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween celebrations. Learn more about which activities are considered high-risk for spreading COVID-19 and alternative ways to celebrate that are safe for your family and those around you.

Is it safe to go trick-or-treating during COVID-19?

According to guidance released by the CDC, it is not safe to participate in traditional trick-or-treating, where treats are given to kids who go door-to-door. Here is a list of other activities that are considered high-risk this Halloween.

High-risk Halloween activities

  • Trunk-or-treats
  • Crowded indoor costume parties
  • Indoor haunted houses, especially if people are screaming
  • Attending hayrides with people outside of your household
  • Traveling to a rural fall festival outside of your community, particularly if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19

What are the safest Halloween activities during COVID-19?

The safest way to celebrate Halloween this year is by participating in lower-risk activities with members of your household. Consider organizing some of the following activities with your family to enjoy the spirit of the holiday.

5 safe trick-or-treat alternatives

  1. Carve or decorate pumpkins with members of your household, or outside at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
  2. Get festive by decorating your home and listening to fun music
  3. Organize an outdoor Halloween scavenger hunt with a list of hidden Halloween-themed items with your household members around your home or have a list of Halloween-themed decorations to look for while walking from house to house, searching for Halloween decorations at a distance
  4. Have a virtual Halloween costume contest
  5. Plan a Halloween movie night at home or visit a drive-in theater with people you live with

Is a costume mask an acceptable alternative for a cloth face mask?

According to the CDC, a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth face mask. Avoid a costume mask unless it has two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.

A costume mask should not be worn over a protective cloth face mask. That could be dangerous if the costume mask makes it difficult to breathe.

Consider wearing a Halloween costume that does not include a costume mask. Instead wear a protective, Halloween-themed cloth face mask.

The CDC recommends that everyone 2 years and older wear a cloth face covering, except for anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove their mask on their own. Children under the age of 2 should not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation. Learn more about how face masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In summary, here are 5 tips to remember:

  1. It is always safer to participate in activities with members of your household
  2. Outdoor activities are better than indoor activities with others
  3. Keep a safe distance from neighbors and friends
  4. Wear a cloth face mask
  5. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available). Although Halloween festivities may look a little different during COVID-19, you can still create great Halloween memories for your child.

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