Halloween and COVID-19: Dos and Don’ts to Stay Safe This Year

Playground games, school dances, and extracurricular clubs—these are just some of the things that the novel coronavirus has put out of business (at least for now). Kids are already missing out on a lot this year, and we want to make sure you don’t have to add Halloween to that list.

Even though Halloween (like pretty much everything else) will look different this year, you can still celebrate. We’ve put together a simple list of dos and don’ts to help you get your ghoul on without putting your health (or that of at-risk loved ones) in the danger zone.

Plus, we’ve got a list of resources to make sure you stay on top of the latest Halloween guidelines, local restrictions, and available events.

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COVID-19 Halloween dos

DO celebrate the season: Halloween can be a lot more than just one day on the calendar. Use the whole season to stretch out the celebration this year.

  • Get the whole family in on decorating the house, front porch, and yard.
  • Put creativity to work with an open-air socially-distanced pumpkin carving and decorating party.
  • Instead of bobbing for apples, make some homemade apple cider or some yummy pumpkin bread.
  • Look for a haunted forest to visit instead of an indoor haunted house (make sure you’re able to socially distance and wear a mask).

DO wear a mask: And not just the one that goes with your Halloween costume. Even if you’re wearing a Halloween mask, you still need to wear an approved face covering over your nose and mouth to help protect others. It might be tempting to slip your mask under your costume, but that can inhibit breathing. It’s better to find a face mask that works with your overall Halloween look.

DO go virtual: We get it—Zoom is getting old—but you can spice up your screentime with a costume contest, a Jack-o-lantern gallery, or a virtual viewing party of your favorite fiendish film. If you’ve got storytellers in your midst, try a spooky story session or crack open an old favorite like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

DO keep it small: Whether it’s a spooky backyard movie night or socially-distanced pumpkin carving, limit the number of people you invite. Start with people who are already in your household or “bubble.” Then check local guidelines for gatherings. Just remember—the smaller the group, the safer your Halloween event will be for everyone who attends.

DO BYOE (Bring Your Own Everything): It’s definitely not the Miss Manners way, but right now the hostess (or ghostess) with the mostess isn’t rolling out the red carpet. Keep everyone as safe as possible at outdoor gatherings by asking guests to bring their own snacks, drinks, and chairs. Fulfill your gracious hosting habit by providing hand sanitizer and ample access to safe, sanitized handwashing stations.

DO wash and wait: If you end up trick-or-treating in one form or another, make sure all the little hands in your horde wash up after grabbing the goodies. To be extra safe, we also recommend waiting at least 24 hours before digging into candy and other delectable treats. To ease the pain, have some special snacks (that you know are safe) ready and waiting for your little goblins.

DO stick close to home: It might be tempting to head out of town to explore an apple orchard or a sprawling pumpkin patch. Because they’re outside, these seem like good options this season, but moving into a new community can help expose you (and others) to the novel coronavirus. Your safest bet is to stick to activities in your neck of the woods.

DO watch the trends: Coronavirus restrictions can change daily, so keep an eye on what’s happening in your town or neighborhood. Areas that see a sudden spike in positive COVID-19 cases might shut down Halloween activities that were previously approved.

COVID-19 Halloween don’ts

DON’T get too close: Even if you’re sticking to outdoor gatherings, you should still follow guidelines for physical distancing. Make sure to stay at least six feet away from others, and wear a face mask or other covering for extra safety. To make it easy for kids to keep their distance, use foam pool noodles to section off different areas for each child or family. Stake a tombstone sign in the ground with their name on it to let them know which plot is theirs.

DON’T over-serve: We could all use a refreshing beverage these days, but resist the urge to serve up a spiked witches brew this season. Alcohol consumption lowers inhibitions and can make it easier for us to get lax about safe COVID-19 practices like social distancing.

DON’T get too gloomy: It might seem like the pandemic will never end, but we’ve learned a lot in the past several months. Use that knowledge to safely celebrate and share this haunted holiday with friends and family.

Resources for a safe Halloween during the coronavirus

We’re committed to safety, and the global pandemic is definitely keeping us all on our toes. To help you navigate this often-changing landscape, here are some resources about the latest coronavirus guidelines, area restrictions, and traditional tips to make any Halloween safer.

Coronavirus Halloween resources:

Traditional Halloween safety tips:

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past eight. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime reports and spotting trends. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, NPR, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.

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