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Parents have so many questions about how to keep their children safe during the COVID-19 pandemic: Is it safe to attend school in person? (It depends.) What about playing sports? (It depends.) Should my child get a flu shot? (Yes.)

But now that the weather has turned, Halloween has become the hot debate in neighborhoods like mine. The CDC has issued guidelines, but the level of safety for any activity depends on local conditions. Many local health departments, community leaders, and neighborhood groups have developed guidelines. Some are banning traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, while others are organizing or recommending alternative activities.

“Public health leaders have to put the safety of their community first,” according to our CEO, Brian Castrucci, “but we can’t always be the ‘no’ police. Halloween is an example of something that can still be fun for kids and families, as long as people follow the same general guidelines of wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds, and washing hands.”

To highlight general tips, we’ve created a graphic that identifies some activities that are safe (celebrating at home), less safe (careful trick-or-treating), and unsafe (big crowds). This is not intended to be a comprehensive guide for a safe Halloween: You should review the CDC guidelines, follow the advice of your local health department, and talk to other families to see how they plan to balance fun and safety.

Staying home? Children’s National Hospital has ideas for family fun, as well as tips about how to talk to your children about Halloween and COVID-19.


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