Mighty Blog

Safely celebrating Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic

The CDC issues guidelines, advising against traditional trick-or-treating

Halloween is an exciting time for kids. They get to dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood with friends. But many of those activities can lead to the spread of COVID-19. That’s why Halloween might look a little different this year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put out guidelines to help parents plan a safe celebration for their kids. Dr. Angela Kade Goepferd, chief education officer at Children’s Minnesota, shared more about these guidelines.

“The message we’re trying to give to kids is not that Halloween is canceled this year—it’s that we have to do Halloween a little bit differently this year to be more safe,” said Dr. Goepferd.

Dr. Goepferd shares more with KSTP

Parents will make decisions for themselves and their families, but it’s important to understand the risks. Regardless of how your family celebrates, keep general COVID-19 precautions in mind:

  • Maintain social distancing and limit close contact.
  • Wear masks.
  • Wash hands frequently.

How can my family celebrate Halloween safely?

There are several safer, alternative ways to enjoy Halloween. Here are some CDC-recommended, lower-risk activities that kids will love:

  • Carve or decorate pumpkins with members of your household.
  • Carve or decorate pumpkins at a safe distance outside with neighbors or friends.
  • Decorate your house, apartment or living space with fun or spooky decorations.
  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt. Give kids lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance.
  • Have a virtual Halloween costume contest.
  • Host a Halloween movie night with people you live with.
  • Try a scavenger-hunt-style candy search with your household members in or around your home rather than going trick or treating at neighbors’ houses.

What Halloween activities should I avoid?

There are a few higher risk Halloween activities families should avoid:

  • Traditional trick-or-treating.
  • Trunk-or-treat, where families line up their cars in a large parking lot and treats are handed out from car trunks.
  • Indoor activities such as crowded costume parties or haunted houses.

There are a number of Halloween alternatives the CDC considers a moderate risk. Families should exercise extra caution when celebrating in these ways:

  • One-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance.
  • Small group, outdoor, open-air costume parades where people keep more than 6 feet of distance.
  • Outdoor costume parties where attendees wear protective masks and everyone can remain more than 6 feet apart.
    • Remember: A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. But do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask as it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
  • Open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forests where appropriate mask use is enforced, and everyone can remain at least 6 feet apart. However, if the haunted forest is really scary and attendees may scream, we recommend staying more than 6 feet apart.
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples. As always, masks should be encouraged or enforced, and you should maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from others.
  • Outdoor Halloween movie night with family or friends. Everyone should sit at least 6 feet apart.

Even though Halloween will look a lot different this year, that won’t stop us from having a Spooktacular time celebrating!

Mental health resources

Times like this can be especially hard for kids to understand. The experts at Children’s Minnesota offer all kinds of resources for parents to help their children cope. You can find help on the Children’s Minnesota Behavior Health Support Hub: Living Now.

Kaitlyn Kamleiter