At least it’s not the zombie plague, right?!?

COVID-19 has certainly turned 2020 on its head, upending everyone’s plans or putting them on hold for the foreseeable future. And as the holidays approach, uncertainty remains for many of the traditions we’ve come to know and love.

While it may look a bit different this year, there are ways we can help make Halloween safe AND fun for the kids … even during a pandemic.

CDC Considerations to Help Keep Your Little Witches and Ghouls Safe

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a list of Halloween considerations, outlining what kind of celebrations should be considered as low, moderate, or high risk. These considerations are meant to supplement – NOT replace – recommendations or requirements by local officials. Find out what measures your local health department has in place before making plans.

The CDC advises families to assess their community’s risk level to determine how they want to celebrate Halloween this year. To help you out, the Harvard Global Health Institute designed an interactive COVID-19 risk map that assigns a color to each county based on its calculated risk. See the table and description below for more on what this could mean for your Halloween.

If your county is coded orange or red, your family should consider low-risk activities like a spooky scavenger hunt around the house, pumpkin carving, virtual costume contest, or Halloween movie marathon. If your county is coded yellow or green, and you feel comfortable, you may be able to enjoy more traditional celebrations (with COVID-19 safety precautions in place, of course!). However, it is still best to err on the side of caution if you live with anyone who is considered high-risk. 

There are a few things you definitely should not participate in this Halloween, like bobbing for apples or indoor Halloween parties. And of course, if you or your little monsters have symptoms of COVID-19, stay home.

County Risk Color CodeRisk Level (Daily Cases per 100,000 Population; 7-day rolling average)COVID-19 Status
GreenLess than 1On track for containment
Yellow1-9Community spread
Orange10-24Accelerated spread
Red25+Tipping point

Tips to Help Prevent COVID-19 Scares This Halloween

Mask Up! 

Of all the holidays during the pandemic, at least Halloween incorporates mask wearing. Get creative with your cloth mask design. Keep in mind that costume masks are not a substitute for proper cloth face masks unless they are made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that cover the mouth and nose and leave no gaps around the face (Nope … Batman won’t cut it this year). Don’t wear a costume mask over a cloth mask, as it could make it hard to breathe. If you and your children plan to be around people other than those you live with this Halloween, make sure you’re masked up – for your family’s safety and others! 

Keep Your Distance

Going trick-or-treating this Halloween? Remember to keep at least six feet between you and others while walking around your neighborhood. If braving a “haunted” forest or other spooky Halloween features, keep even more distance between you and others, as screaming could result in greater exposure to respiratory particles

If you plan to give out Halloween candy, consider placing a table at the end of your driveway and set up camp at least six feet back. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling treats to avoid spreading germs to others.

If you plan to go trick-or-treating, make sure your little ones practice COVID-19 etiquette. Remind them to keep their distance from those giving out candy, and keep their mask on when they are near neighbors.

Keep Halloween jack-o-lanterns fresh by immersing them periodically in a chlorine bleach solution made by adding 4.5 teaspoons of regular household bleach to 3 gallons of water in a basin or bucket. The solution can also be applied to the jack-o-lantern by spraying.

Practice Good Hand Hygiene

As you head out the door, be sure to have some hand sanitizer (of at least 60% alcohol) with you, and encourage your kids to use it frequently, especially after touching any public surfaces. When you return home for the evening, everyone in your family should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Parents should inspect candy from their trick-or-treaters’ stashes, and discard any that is not wrapped tightly. For extra caution, parents can wipe down candy wrappings with disinfecting wipes or leave candy untouched for 24 hours in an “unloading zone” in your house, similar to how you handle incoming groceries.

We hope you and your family have a safe and happy Halloween!