Kids need something to look forward to right now (we all do) so, naturally, they're getting excited for Halloween. But the holiday might need to look a little different this year. Costumes can still happen, but trick-or-treating the old fashioned way is not recommended.

That was the news dropped this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when it recommended against trick-or-treating. "Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses," the CDC notes, adding that "participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door" is considered a high-risk activity. So is trunk-or-treating, where treats are handed out from parked cars.

Instead, the CDC recommends safer alternatives in the age of COVID-19.


The following lower risk activities can be safe alternatives to trick-or-treating, according to the CDC:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

Moderate risk trick-or-treating

If your family really, really wants to trick-or-treat (and you are comfortable with more risk) the CDC recommends "participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)."
Adults who are preparing the goodie bags should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after prepping the treats.

Other moderate risk alternatives to trick-or-treating include "having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart" or "attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart."

We're all looking forward to Halloween and with a little creativity, it can be safe and fun.