How to Trick-or-Treat Safely During COVID-19: Tips From a Pediatrician This Halloween

Costumes, community, fresh air – there are lots of reasons to love trick-or-treating at Halloween.

But amid the spread of the Delta variant, and kids under 12 not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s complicated. Yes, outdoor activities are much safer than indoors, but traditional trick-or-treating still includes large groups of children, and the potential for crowded moments (like grabbing candy).

If your family does decide to trick-or-treat, you’ll have to do things differently to keep everyone safe, especially our unvaccinated kids.

Connecticut Children’s infectious disease physician Melissa Held, MD, shares quick tips.

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If your family chooses to trick-or-treat during COVID-19, plan ahead to be safe.

  1. Stay outdoors. Neighbors should wear masks and stay outside their front door or at the end of their driveway or yard. Instead of having kids reach into a communal candy bowl, they should hand out individual bags to each child and set up a one-way route to avoid crowding.
  2. Wear a mask (and not just the costume kind). Even outdoors, this is recommended for unvaccinated kids. Keep in mind that most costume masks alone aren’t effective at stopping the spread of germs. So make sure your unvaccinated child wears at least a two-ply face mask, and check that they can breathe comfortably if they are also going to use a costume mask. A better way to go: a Halloween-themed two-ply face mask!
  3. Limit the group size. Keep your child’s trick-or-treating group to just siblings or a close friend or two.
  4. Limit the houses you visit. To limit unnecessary exposure to others, just go to a few homes on your street, or to visit just a few friends you know well.
  5. Social distance. Leave lots of space between any other trick-or-treaters.
  6. Take precautions while prepping goody bags. If you are the one preparing goody bags, wash your hands to soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after prepping bags.
  7. Practice good hand hygiene. Remember to have kids use hand sanitizer in between homes to further reduce risk.
  8. Stay home if you might be sick. If any of your family members are feeling sick or think you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, please stay home and quarantine!

Woman and child wearing face masks; child is wearing a firefighter costume and holding a plastic bucket while preparing to go trick-or-treating

Have you considered alternatives?

There are lots of safe, creative ways to make Halloween a fun day this year, even without trick-or-treating. Here are 14 Ways to Have a Safe Halloween During COVID-19, Even in Quarantine.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

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