View All Articles

Halloween in 2020? It’s Different, Not Canceled

October 20, 2020

Many parents are wondering if their families can celebrate a healthy Halloween during a pandemic. The good news is, with creativity and reasonable precautions, you can. Doing so means you’ll practice the same everyday preventive measures: physical distancing, proper handwashing, mask wearing when unable to keep a distance of six feet in public and avoiding large crowds. 

Holiday Traditions 

This year, consider taking a pass on some of the typical activities associated with Halloween. Traditional trick-or-treating — where treats are handed out as kids go door to door — is listed as a higher-risk activity by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So are crowded costume parties held indoors and haunted houses where people may crowd together indoors and scream.

Before participating in any holiday activities beyond your household, check the COVID-19 Daily Update for your area at the Florida Department of Health.

Have Fun and Stay Healthy

Even though Halloween may not look the same as it has in previous years, with some imagination and effort, your family can still safely celebrate. Kids can still wear their costumes, watch a family Halloween movie together, make Halloween-themed arts and crafts, and enjoy Halloween treats. Families can still buy their kids' favorite candy and create a scavenger hunt in their house or yard. As long as your family is together and doing Halloween-themed activities, the kids will still experience the holiday as special.

Lower-risk suggestions include: 

  • Carving, decorating and displaying pumpkins with family

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside (and distanced) with neighbors or friends

  • Decorating your house, apartment, porch or yard

  • Exploring the neighborhood, spotting Halloween-themed objects and viewing decorations at a distance

  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest 

  • Participating in a Halloween movie night with people you live with (or look for community venues that might be offering movies outdoors)

  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your family in or around your home (to take the place of traditional trick-or-treating in the neighborhood)

Moderate-risk activities include:

  • Participate in one-way trick-or-treating where single, wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go (such as at the end of a porch, yard or driveway).

  • Have a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where attendees are spread out. Remember, the risk of spreading a respiratory virus is lowered as you increase physical distance among people.

  • Attend an outdoor costume party (and maintain physical distance).

  • Go to an open-air, walk-through haunted forest where attendees can remain more than six feet apart. 

  • Visit pumpkin patches or orchards for pumpkin- or apple-picking where people can maintain physical distancing (ideally going at a time that’s less crowded).

Avoid what qualify as higher risk activities this year, such as:

  • Traditional trick-or-treating (treats handed to children going door to door)

  • Trunk-or-treat (passing out candy from trunks of cars in large parking lots)

  • Crowded costume parties held indoors

  • Indoor haunted houses where people are crowded together and screaming

  • Hayrides with people not in your household

What About Masks?

A costume mask (such as a Halloween mask) is not a substitute for a medical or cloth mask, according to the CDC. Unless a costume mask is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose, and doesn’t leave gaps around the face, it should not be worn.

Be careful not to “double mask” — in other words, do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask. This can be dangerous if the costume mask makes breathing difficult. Instead, consider wearing a cloth mask that is Halloween-themed.

Are Flu Shots Necessary? 

Widespread mask usage, physical distancing and handwashing work to reduce spread of seasonal flu and colds, which is a plus this year. Consider whether you or your family members should get flu shots prior to celebrating, as they take about two weeks to take effect.


Are You Interested in Learning More?

Sign up for our e-newsletter for more tips and best practices from pediatricians. 

Sign Up Here

Related Articles