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Stay safe this Halloween: The ultimate guide for trick-or-treating during COVID

When the air starts to get chilly and the leaves start to fall, that means Halloween and other fall fun is right around the corner. While kids are looking forward to getting dressed up in the perfect costume and roaming the neighborhood in search of treats, parents and neighbors may still have some concerns regarding COVID-19 safety. The good news is, we’ve got a handy etiquette guide for safe trick-or-treating so your family can stay safe during this year’s trick-or-treating fun.

Asian kid going trick-or-treating
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Guidelines for safe trick or treating during COVID

While state and local regulations may be the biggest factor in how trick-or-treating looks in your neighborhood, it’s always a good idea to keep the CDC’s COVID-19 prevention guidelines in mind when preparing for trick-or-treating. These guidelines include:

  • Get fully vaccinated.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 3-4 days prior to social events.
  • Social distance.
  • Wear a mask if you come within 6 feet of individuals who don’t live in your household.
  • Wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer as often as possible.
  • Cover your face when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash and sanitize all surfaces.
  • Monitor your daily health for signs of COVID-19.
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Be sure to keep up with local news and current statistics in your area with regard to the number of COVID-19 cases and trick-or-treating regulations.

COVID trick-or-treat ideas and tips for parents

While you may want your children to have fun and enjoy trick or treating this year, you also want them to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19. We’ve gathered some dos and don’ts to keep in mind both before and while your family trick or treats.


  • Have discussions with your children before trick-or-treating to be sure they understand how and why to take precautions.
  • Take your individual temperatures before heading out to trick or treat.
  • Wear masks if anyone in your household is unvaccinated or immunocompromised.
  • Incorporate a decorative cloth mask into your child’s costume.
  • Stay outdoors to ensure you and your family are breathing well-ventilated air.
  • Carry hand sanitizer with you and apply it to your hands and your children’s hands between houses.
  • Stay 6 feet away from other trick-or-treating families or groups.


  • Go trick-or-treating if you or anyone in your household feels sick.
  • Go trick-or-treating if you or anyone in your household has been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
  • Walk with other groups or families if you are unable to stay 6 feet apart.

COVID trick or treat ideas and tips for neighbors

If you love seeing the smiling faces and adorable costumes of your neighborhood’s children during Halloween, you can still participate in giving out treats while staying safe. Here are some dos and don’ts for generous neighbors during trick-or-treating.


  • Take precautions when preparing treats.
    • Wash your hands prior to preparing.
    • Wash and sanitize surfaces that treats are being prepared or presented on.
  • Set up a COVID-friendly treat station.
    • Set it up outdoors to minimize close contact.
    • Serve store-bought, individually wrapped treats.
    • Space treats apart to ensure children only touch their own treat.
    • Make it a self-serve station to avoid direct contact with others.
  • Consider having a handwashing station or hand sanitizer available near your treats.


  • Participate in distributing treats if you or anyone in your household feels sick.
  • Participate in distributing treats if you or anyone in your household has been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
  • Distribute treats by hand or in a way that will require direct contact.
  • Distribute treats in bowls or containers that would result in hands touching multiple treats.
two children from the neck down in costume with trick or treating bins
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Other COVID-friendly Halloween activities

Not everyone will be able to participate in trick-or-treating this year. If you or someone in your household test positive for COVID, if you’re feeling sick, or if you are just staying cautious, you may be considering passing on trick-or-treating this year. Don’t worry, there are still some great Halloween activities you and your family can do to celebrate the holiday.

Have a scary movie marathon night

Make a lineup of the best Halloween or horror movies for your family to watch together. Make a night of it with Halloween-themed dinner, snacks, and desserts, and you could even dress up in costumes for the occasion.

Set up a spooky treasure hunt

Hide treats around the house or yard and give your kids hints on how to find them. Consider creating spooky instructions and maybe even concocting creepy roadblocks and jump scares that they have to overcome to find their treats.

Turn your home into a haunted house

Set up spooky decorations in every room of the house and map a haunted route through your home. Parents can even dress up in scary costumes and have kids try to get from one end of the house to the other without screaming.

Halloween is a beloved holiday for kids and adults alike. While COVID-19 has made changes to how we celebrate, your festivities don’t necessarily have to be canceled. With our handy etiquette guide on trick-or-treating, as well as our list of other COVID-friendly Halloween activities in the home, your kids can still get a kick out of this spooky holiday while staying safe.

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Veronica Sparks
Veronica Sparks is a writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who loves writing about gardening, home décor, and DIY life. She’s…
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