Parents' Guide To A Safe And Fun Covid-19 Halloween

Covid-19 Halloween Safety

The spooky season is upon us and kids are already feeling the excitement they always do this time of year. But It turns out there’s something scarier than witches and goblins this Halloween: a virus that has already made 2020 one of the hardest years anyone can remember, taking the lives of over 200,000 Americans in the last six months alone, and effectively destroying anything “normal” we once knew.

There’s no doubt our kids are desperate for, and deserving of, some fun right now. They’re missing their friends, their sporting activities, and even school. So what’s the harm in letting them put on a costume, maybe even one with a mask, and allowing them to go door to door for some Halloween trick-or-treating?

Just one normal thing in a year that has been anything but.

Trick-or-Treating: Experts Make the Call

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released guidance on Halloween activities. Their advice isn’t likely to make kids or parents very happy: traditional trick-or-treating has officially been dubbed a high-risk activity that should be avoided this year.

“Taking part in some normal Halloween activities could increase transmission of Covid-19,” epidemiologist and senior medical director at Grand Rounds, Dr. Tista Ghosh, recently told Miami Observer.

Even with masks and attempted social distancing, the problem with trick-or-treating is the sheer number of people kids come in contact with—and the difficulty in maintaining distance and proper hand sanitizing as candy is being passed back and forth between countless children and adults.

Dr. Kristin Hughes is an emergency physician, frontline responder, and mom to a two-year-old herself. She explained that while parents typically allow their children to parade through the neighborhood and up to stranger’s doors for this once-a-year holiday tradition, “This year (if allowed) they could be coming home with a potentially deadly COVID-19 virus along with that snickers bar.”

The risks, according to Hughes, include exposure to individuals who have not been following quarantine protocols and who may or may not have been recently infected. Beyond that, she explained, it’s impossible to guarantee that those handing out candy will be wearing masks themselves.

And it’s not just the strangers opening their doors to children who pose a risk.

“In the beginning of the pandemic, it was unclear whether kids transmit coronavirus,” Ghosh said. “But now evidence shows that kids can absolutely transmit the virus. This puts the people they interact with at risk, particularly if they have underlying conditions.”

For this reason, she said it’s important people remain vigilant during Halloween festivities. But there is good news. “While normal trick-or-treating is considered a high-risk activity, making some changes to avoid face-to-face interaction would help mitigate the spread of Covid-19,” Ghosh explained.

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Trick-or-Treating Alternatives

There’s no reason to cancel Halloween altogether. “COVID has already had devastating effects on people's mental health,” Ghosh said, explaining that eliminating beloved holiday celebrations only stands to make that worse. “Because many kids look forward to Halloween each year, completely taking it away could add to the difficulties they are already experiencing.”

While there is no zero-risk activity, Ghosh said that taking the necessary precautions can keep you and your family safe this year, while still allowing kids to dress up and have fun.

For parents who want to give their kids a memorable Halloween without the extra Covid risks, both Ghosh and Hughes had some great trick-or-treating alternatives to suggest:

  • Choose costumes for yourself and your kids that include masks, and even gloves
  • Leave candy on your lawn instead of handing it out in order to avoid those face-to-face interactions—and encourage your neighbors to do the same
  • Ensure kids are washing their hands both before and after eating candy
  • Consider holding a virtual event or Zoom costume contest
  • Instead of trick-or-treating, hide candy in different rooms of the house and let your kids go hunting
  • Have a family pumpkin carving contest
  • Buy lots of supplies and make homemade costumes as a family, posting the results to social media for your friends to ooooh and ahhhh at
Hughes further advised setting the tone in your neighborhood for safety, telling parents not to answer their doors on Halloween night and to instead leave a sign on the door stating:




Hosting a Safe Halloween Party

If you simply can’t imagine Halloween without your friends and extended family to celebrate with, Ghosh suggested holding a small, outdoor Halloween party. The keys to success for a relatively safe Halloween party include costumes with masks, social distancing, and readily available hand sanitizer.

“Use designated spots or creative decorations to encourage kids and adults to remain at least six feet apart from each other, where they can do in-place activities like freeze dance (to spooky music) or pumpkin painting,” Ghosh said.

Other possible activities include dance and pumpkin carving contests and even a Halloween fashion show. “For older kids, consider an outdoor scary movie night, where seats are placed 6+ feet apart,” Ghosh said. “And one of the best ideas I've heard is having an outdoor coronavirus piñata, where kids can take turns (while others wait 6+ feet away) taking a swing at that mean old virus.”

If you do host a party, consider pre-packaging snacks and treats into individual servings to avoid multiple hands touching the same food items. And instead of candy buckets, which Hughes said can be a pool of germs, spread candy out where individual pieces can be grabbed without touching candy others might eat.

Ultimately, Hughes explained that this Halloween is going to be whatever parents make of it. “The parent's attitude will likely make the difference. Choose to make it a new adventure instead of a deviation from the traditions. There is lots of fun to be had without placing our children in danger.”

Cavakia TherlongeAbout the Author
Cavakia is a Miami based fitness trainer, anarchist, and promoter of wellness and natural law principles. Contact him at if you want to transform your body in 12 weeks or less.

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