Tricks (and Treats) for a Safer Halloween

Get your costumes and spooky decorations ready — Halloween is almost here! While movie marathons and pumpkin carving are great family fun, many parents may question a return to trick-or-treating. You may even wonder, “Is it safe this year?” or, “Does my child have to be vaccinated to participate?”

We put together this guide of tricks for your family to enjoy the Halloween treats, while also keeping your child’s safety in mind.

Let’s start with the basics. Can my child go trick-or-treating?

The CDC gave the green light for children to trick or treat this Halloween, with some conditions.

If your child is fully vaccinated, they can safely enjoy the trick-or-treating tradition. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, also gave his approval for safe trick-or-treating, saying “I think that, particularly if you’re vaccinated, you can get out there … and enjoy it.”

If children are unvaccinated, or too young to be vaccinated, you’ll need to make a decision as a family. Since trick-or-treating is an outdoor activity, the risk for infection is relatively low. That said, there are still some risks — so you should be extra careful. Here are some things to remember:

🎃 Keep your group small. Avoid mixing with many different households. Don’t be afraid to ask about people’s vaccination status before deciding who to spend Halloween night with.

👻 Take it outside. Avoid stopping by Halloween parties or spending time in other people’s houses. And don’t invite trick-or-treaters into your home.

🧛 Wear a mask. Whether you’re out and about, or handing out treats from home, make sure everyone age 2 or older wears a mask — regardless of vaccination status. A costume mask alone isn’t enough to stop the spread of COVID-19 — it’s important to wear protective masks that fully cover the nose and mouth. You can even incorporate a protective mask into your child’s costume — just make sure it has multiple layers!

🧟 Keep your distance. Make sure you and your children stay six feet away from others as much as possible. Is a crowd gathering at one of your neighborhood stops? Skip it and come back once things have cleared up.

🦇 One at a time. Avoid offering a communal candy bowl and have your children ask for candy to be put in their trick-or-treating bag, rather than grabbing it from a common container. Some other ideas:

  • Put candy on a small table outside that kids can easily grab.
  • Try fun ways to give out treats while keeping physically distant, such as sliding the candy down a wrapping paper tube or pipe into trick-or-treat bags.
  • Use tape to mark spots six feet apart on the way up to your door where people can wait.

💀 Keep hands clean. Wash hands before you head out and when you get home. And bring hand sanitizer so kids can clean their hands between house visits (and before eating any treats along the way!).

💚 Monitor any symptoms. Check your child for any symptoms before Halloween night and take their temperature before heading out. Stay home if they’re not feeling well.

Ideas for a safer (but still spooky) good time

Feeling uneasy about partaking in trick-or-treating? That’s OK! There are plenty of ways to get in the Halloween spirit, without even leaving your home!

  • Hold a candy hunt (think Easter egg hunt, but more costumes) at home with your immediate family.
  • Carve or decorate pumpkins as a household while listening to a spooky playlist.
  • Love to dress up and decorate? Hold a virtual costume party so everyone can show off their creations and carved pumpkins. Consider making a challenge to create costumes from items you already have at home.
  • Exchange candy with families you know. Do a drop-off delivery at their doorstep for a Halloween surprise for the kids.
  • Do a Halloween movie night! Each member of the family can select their favorite.
  • Give your family’s masks a festive twist with a family craft. Decorate cloth masks with fabric crayons or stickers.
  • Exercise your brains with Halloween-themed word games. Here’s one you can print out at home (and some safety tips to remember!).

We’re thrilled that some Halloween traditions can resume safely. No matter how you choose to celebrate, remember to keep the group small, keep your distance, wear masks, and practice good handwashing.

For more guidance on gathering this holiday season visit: coronavirus.wa.gov/gatherings.

More information

This blog is accurate as of the date of posting. Information changes rapidly, so check the state’s COVID-19 website for the most up-to-date info at coronavirus.wa.gov. You can also sign up to be notified whenever we post new articles.

The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to everyone 12 and older. For more information about the vaccine, visit CovidVaccineWA.org and use the vaccine locator tool to find an appointment. The COVID-19 vaccine is provided at no cost to you.

WA Notify can alert you if you’ve been near another user who tested positive for COVID-19. Add WA Notify to your phone today: WANotify.org

Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington State may be found at our website. You can also contact the Department of Health call center at 1–800–525–0127 and press # from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday — Sunday and observed state holidays. Language assistance is available.

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