Celebrating Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic

Trick or treating

How to have a safe and fun Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic

Adults play a key role in making the Halloween season fun and safe for children. This year, with distance learning and fewer opportunities to be among friends and family, taking time to celebrate can create a sense of normalcy for children, which can benefit their emotional health.

As the director of Safe Kids South Chicagoland and the pediatric director of the Mother-Baby Unit at Comer Children’s, here are a few answers to frequently asked questions on how to have a safe and fun Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How can we safely celebrate Halloween this year?

The most important thing to remember is that if you or your child are not feeling well, then you should forego the celebration. However, if you all are feeling well, there are plenty of safe ways to celebrate. You can keep the celebration within your coronavirus "social bubble" or "pod." That's the term for the limited number of trusted friends and family with whom you interact. Pumpkin carving with your family, decorating your home, or just watching scary movies are some of the lowest-risk activities. A Halloween-themed scavenger hunt — either indoors or outdoors — can be a lot of fun and a way to get exercise.

Other activities like trick-or-treating (where treats are individually wrapped and displayed with intentions to grab-and-go), outdoor parties, or apple and pumpkin picking pose a moderate risk. Be sure to wear a face covering and practice social distancing to keep everyone healthy.

Partying indoors or sharing a hay ride with people who are not a part of your “social bubble,” are both high-risk activities. Unfortunately, the traditional way of trick-or-treating where candies are handed out door-to-door is also a high-risk activity that should be avoided if possible.

Will my child’s Halloween mask be enough or should they wear a cloth mask too?

Wearing two masks isn’t recommended. Instead, consider buying a Halloween themed fabric mask.

How can people handing out treats make them safer for kids?

To make treats safer, be sure to wash your hands before packing individually wrapped candy into goodie bags. You will want to place these bags on a table to make it easy for trick-or-treaters to grab and go. Remember to wash your hands after bringing any leftover treats back inside.

Poj Lysouvakon, MD

Poj Lysouvakon, MD

Poj Lysouvakon, MD, is the director of Safe Kids South Chicagoland and pediatric director of the Mother-Baby Unit at the Family Birth Center.

Learn more about Dr. Lysouvakon