Ahead of Halloween 2020, the first to occur during both the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and influenza season, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published guidance for safe, socially distant Halloween activities.

The agency recommends that children and their families avoid direct contact with other trick-or-treaters by remaining at least 6 feet apart from people who do not live in their own household.

For those distributing candy on Halloween, the CDC recommends providing candy in prewrapped packages for easy distribution to children. If possible, only distribute treats outdoors, wash your hands before handling treats, and wear a mask.

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Costume wearers are encouraged to incorporate a cloth mask (ie, the type recommended for daily use during COVID-19) into their Halloween outfit. A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask, noted the agency. Children should also avoid wearing both a costume mask and a cloth mask, as it can make breathing more difficult. Masks should not be worn by those who have trouble breathing or by children under the age of 2.

The CDC recommends that parents bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol while trick-or-treating with their children. Following the activities, families should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds upon returning home.

Other Halloween activities, such as pumpkin carving, visiting an orchard or pumpkin patch, or participating in a scavenger hunt should be done in accordance with CDC guidelines. For families planning a fall day activity at an apple orchard, the CDC recommends washing hands or using hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching public surfaces, pumpkins, or apples.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trick or treating and other Halloween activities. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Updated October 9, 2020. Accessed October 27, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/halloween.html.