Halloween 2021: All Treats, No Tricks

Prevent the spread of COVID-19 with these helpful tips

There’s something magical this time of year, with little ghosts and goblins eager to fill their candy buckets. But sadly, in 2020, many sat out of the beloved childhood rite of passage as COVID-19 spread through our communities.

This year, parents and kids alike have awaited guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hopeful for the “all-clear” to trick or treat this Halloween. Luckily, we don’t have to wait any more: The CDC has given the green light (just with a few safety recommendations).

Trick-or-treating: What’s safe, what to avoid

The CDC recommends that families follow the same precautions this Halloween as they have throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. What does that mean? Well, you might need that creative candy chute again.

Here’s what the CDC says:

  • Avoid crowds (even outside). Skip events you know will be crowded or cause kids to bunch up in groups, like trunk-or-treating, haunted houses or Halloween parties.
  • Get a flu shot. It won’t protect you or your kids from COVID-19, but it can cut down on the flu. And experts predict this season will be a doozy.
  • Keep your distance. Try to stay six feet away from other Halloween revelers. That may mean another candy chute or sitting out bagged treats for kids to take themselves.
  • Stay outside. The fresh air helps scatter the virus – making it more difficult to spread among trick-or-treaters and adults.
  • Stick to your household. It’s best to trick-or-treat with just the family members. If COVID-19 numbers aren’t high in your neighborhood, you may be able to head out with a few friends that live nearby.
  • Wash your hands. Before diving into the night’s haul, make sure your little ghouls wash or sanitize their hands.
  • Wear a mask. And we’re not talking about Halloween masks. Make sure your child wears the face coverings they wear at school or out in public, and don’t layer it under a costume mask that could make it hard to breathe.

Halloween advice for kids-at-heart

Children aren’t the only ones who enjoy Halloween – many adults look forward to annual costume parties. (What better way to feel like a kid again?) You can still celebrate this year, but you may want to take a few precautions:

  • Get vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. If you’re not yet vaccinated, roll up those sleeves and get your shot. (And while you’re there, get a flu shot, too!)
  • If you’re sick – stay home. It’s tough to miss out on the fun, but if you’re experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, protect yourself and others by staying at home.
  • Keep it small. Limit your guest list to vaccinated people you’re typically around.
  • Move it outdoors. Nothing says Halloween like a bonfire party. Help limit the spread of COVID-19 by keeping the party outdoors or popping open a few windows.
  • Set expectations. If you’re hosting, let your guests know the ground rules. That might include wearing a mask if someone’s not vaccinated or limiting the number of people you invite.
  • Wear a mask. The science is clear: A face covering (not a costume mask) helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Still confused? We’re here to help. You can always call your doctor’s office for information or send a message through MyChart. And you can be confident we’ll keep you up to date with the latest COVID news and advice from the experts in the field.

Heather Newhard, MSN, CRNP-F, is a family nurse practitioner with Luminis Health Primary Care in Crofton, Md.