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Halloween and COVID-19: Ways to Safely Celebrate This Year

There are certainly lots of ways to safely celebrate Halloween!  Trick-or-treating is a tricky one (no pun intended!). The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests:

  1. Look for outdoor events but avoid crowds, wear masks, and maintain social distancing.
  2. Remember that masks should be cloth face coverings or something else that covers the nose and mouth. Traditional Halloween masks are not a substitute for a face covering.
  3. Keep your trick-or-treating group small.
  4. Use cloth face coverings as part of a costume, but do not paint them as paints may contain toxins.
  5. Wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently and before eating any candy. No eating as you go!
  6. If you are feeling particularly cautious, you could wipe down the exterior of the treats/treat bags or just let them sit for a few days before opening them, but surfaces are not a common mode of COVID transmission, so this is probably not necessary.
  7. If you are handing out candy, sit outside, wear a mask, and don’t let kids choose their own candy – hand them each piece (you could even use tongs or a grabber!), line up individual treat bags for them to pick up, or find another creative way to hand out treats without getting within six feet of the trick-or-treaters. I’ve seen things like fishing rods, catapults, candy chutes, and other fun ideas to allow for contactless delivery of treats!

Avoid COVID-19 by Playing it Safe

The greatest risk of COVID comes from being close to people and breathing the same air. So… outdoor anything is safer than indoor anything. Masks are safer than no masks. Staying at least six feet from other people is safer than being closer to them. Avoid large crowds (indoors or outdoors!), indoor parties with people outside your household or bubble, and other indoor events like haunted houses.

Other Ideas for Celebrating Halloween Safely During a Pandemic

#1 – Host a virtual costume party.

For a 100% safe Halloween, you could do a virtual costume party or parade, a scary movie night, or a candy scavenger hunt in your house with your own family.

#2 – Decorate pumpkins with the family.

Decorating pumpkins and making Halloween-themed treats with your family are also completely safe ways to celebrate!

#3 – Look for outdoor events where you can socially distance.

If you want to go out but want to be as safe as possible, look for outdoor events – and be sure you wear face coverings, avoid crowds, and maintain social distancing even when outside. Some community organizations will hold events that can be safely attended. You could do an outdoor candy scavenger hunt or costume parade with a small set of friends or have an outdoor scary movie night with your neighbors – all while wearing masks and maintaining a safe distance.

Remember the 3 W’s

This has been an exceptionally hard year for all of us, especially for kids. I think it’s important for kids to have things to look forward to and to be able to maintain some holiday traditions and help create new ones. Just remember to keep the three W’s in mind:

  • WEAR a cloth mask over your nose and mouth
  • WAIT 6 feet apart and avoid close contact
  • WASH your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently)

If we remember to keep the three W’s in mind, we can have a Halloween that is both safe and fun!


About Jessica Dixon, MHA, BSN, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Jessica Dixon is an Infection Prevention Specialist for WakeMed. A former critical care nurse, Jessica manages internal and public reporting of hospital-associated infection data as well as several special projects focusing on reduction of hospital-associated infections. She is also a part of the team managing WakeMed’s COVID-19 response. Jessica is certified in Infection Control, is a Fellow of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control & Epidemiology, and was named one of NC’s Great 100 Nurses in 2018 and a Triangle Business Journal Healthcare Hero in 2019.

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