a pumpkin with googly eyes wearing a witch's hat and a mask
a pumpkin with googly eyes wearing a witch's hat and a mask
a pumpkin with googly eyes wearing a witch's hat and a mask

Halloween Tips for Spooky (and Safe) Fun During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Featured Experts:

Candy, cute costumes and family fun: It’s Halloween! “Kids need something to look forward to, so don’t write off Halloween — be creative to keep kids safe and happy,” says Aaron Milstone, a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and an infectious disease expert at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Here are some ideas for keeping COVID-19 precautions in mind while you and your kids have fun this Halloween.

Get Together Safely

an illustration of a Halloween-themed video call on a laptop, with participants wearing various costumes

Virtual costume contests and other online fun are the safest ways for kids to get together with their friends. Avoid parties, haunted houses and other indoor group activities — especially when screaming is involved. (Screaming is a big part of Halloween, but it projects a lot of respiratory droplets.)

Plan Ahead

an older woman giving a little girl in costume Halloween candy, both are wearing masks

Door-to-door trick-or-treating is riskier, since it involves interacting with many people. But if you choose to go ahead with the tradition, ask around in advance and find out who in your neighborhood is planning to participate. Ensure you and your children are physically distancing, wearing masks and practicing hand hygiene.

Kids and Candy Collecting

An illustration of children in Halloween costumes wearing masks and staying 6ft apart

Keep large groups of kids from crowding around the same door, especially if they’re shouting “trick or treat!” Coach your children: If they encounter candy givers or other neighbors who aren’t wearing masks, wish them “Happy Halloween” and move on.

Tricks for Treat Givers

a plastic jack-o-lantern full of candy

Giving out candy? Wear your mask, plus gloves, and toss the candy, or pre-fill goodie bags for physically distanced pickup on a sanitized table. Look for clever ideas like making candy chutes and zip lines, or other fun ways to get candy to trick-or-treaters while maintaining physical distance.

Handy Candy Tips

a little girl washing her hands

Parents don’t need to wash or sterilize candy wrappers: Hand hygiene is more important. Remind children that they can dive into their tasty treasures only after returning home and thoroughly washing their hands.

Mask Up for Safety

a little boy in a pirate costume with a matching mask featuring a mustache and beard

If your child’s costume includes a mask, save it for later, since costume masks may not prevent spreading the coronavirus. Substitute a coronavirus-worthy mask, decorated to match the theme of your child’s costume.

Spooky Searches

a little girl dressed as a vampire wears a mask and holds a goodie bag for a scavenger hunt

Staying close to home this year? How about a spooky scavenger hunt in your yard? Tuck away treats for your children to find, give them flashlights and let the adventure begin. If you include others from outside your household, make sure everyone wears COVID-appropriate masks and stays at least 6 feet apart.

Terrifying Trivia

A mother and daughter participate in virtual Halloween trivia on a tablet

Create an interactive game for teens and older children, with quotes and characters from their favorite scary movies or TV series. Invite friends to participate online, which is the safest way to get together during the pandemic.

Family Fireside Fun

a mother and son carving a pumpkin

Carving pumpkins, decorating masks, watching movies and sharing funny, scary stories around the fireplace with family members can make memories to cherish.

Capture the Moment

two parents and two children pose with a jack-o-lantern, all wearing surgical masks

Take plenty of pictures. This Halloween might be a little different as you take precautions such as mask-wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene and avoiding crowds, but even while you’re staying safe, you and your children can still have great times to look back on in years ahead.

Icon showing a sick woman with a cold press on her head

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Posted October 14, 2020