How to Celebrate Halloween Safely During COVID-19

Depending on where you live, participating in traditional Halloween festivities such as trick-or-treating may not be allowed, or it may be strongly discouraged. The CDC says, “Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween. If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.”

Check with your local and state health organizations to see what rules and regulations are in place in your neighborhood. Because trick-or-treating and large gatherings can quickly spread COVID-19, our public health and safety experts are sharing tips for alternative Halloween activities the whole family can enjoy:

  • Carving pumpkins as a family and decorating the house for Halloween. Be sure to supervise children during carving, and never allow children under 12 to carve pumpkins.

  • Make Halloween extra special by having a drive-by pumpkin carving contest, where family and friends can safely see each other’s decor and vote from a distance!

  • Host a virtual Halloween party and a costume contest for family and friends. Encourage everyone to dress up and participate in safe virtual games!

  • Grab the popcorn and watch a Halloween-themed movie with the whole family. Good Housekeeping has a great list of 41 age-appropriate Halloween movies for kids.

  • Set up different Halloween-themed stations or have a scavenger hunt inside and outside of your house.

  • If you’re participating in any outdoor, socially distanced activities, be sure to wear a mask, keep children close, and bring plenty of hand sanitizer.

  • Remember, a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth face mask. Effective masks need to have at least two or more breathable fabric layers and adequately cover the nose and mouth.

  • Layering cloth and costume masks together are not advised. Instead, choose Halloween-themed cloth masks.

  • Baking and cooking Halloween treats: this is an excellent opportunity to teach children essential cooking and measuring skills while spending time together as a family!

  • Trunk or treat: participate in an alternative to trick-or-treating by safely distancing vehicles and having children grab individual pre-packed bags with wrapped candy inside.

  • Candy safety: Children should only receive wrapped candy. Parents should wipe down the wrappers and bags before letting kids consume any candy.

Participating in outdoor Halloween activities is strongly advised. Everyone, including parents, should be wearing masks and limit any close contact with children. Creativity is the key to making this Halloween both fun and safe.

However you choose to celebrate Halloween this year, don’t forget about safety. Situational awareness is vital. If you see something out of the ordinary, don’t hesitate to call the police and report any suspicious activity. The Institute for Childhood Preparedness teaches situational awareness and other safety techniques during our new hybrid training programs: online training followed by in-person practical training applications while adhering to COVID-19 safety measures. Schedule hybrid training today.


Our Executive Director, Andrew Roszak, is the author of Preparing for the Unexpected book series. The first book, Preschool Preparedness for an Active Shooter, is available now, and the second book, Preschool Preparedness for an Emergency, is available for pre-order. Order your copies today: Click here!

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