a trick or treat pail with sanitizer and a mask

Germ-Free Halloween Tips

Pamela Bump
This content originally appeared on 

With the flu season upon us -- as well as the COVID-19 global pandemic -- families might be wondering how to celebrate Halloween without spreading germs. If you're in a location where Trick-or-Treating or gatherings are possible, here's how to have a pleasant but healthy celebration.

Staying Germ-Free on Halloween

  • Stay Close to Home

    Ultimately, the best way to prevent virus or germ transmission is to stay home. If you have children who are excited about trick-or-treating, but you need to opt out of visiting your neighbors' homes, consider fun, festive activities -- like Halloween scavenger hunts around your home, pumpkin carving, a scary movie night, or a virtual costume contest with distant family.

  • Embrace the Outdoors

    Because the CDC recommends outdoor activities over indoor activities, consider alternatives to house parties, such as visiting a pumpkin patch, walking through a decorated haunted forest, or seeing family at a socially distant backyard gathering.

  • Give Everyone Space

    If you must go trick-or-treating in public, be sure that your family is six feet or away from other families, and that you avoid overcrowded homes, haunted houses, or streets. This protects you from germs or viruses while also thoughtfully protecting others incase you're carrying something asymptomatically.

  • Respect Others' Choices

    Remember that you might be more immune to germs or illnesses than others, such as the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions. If homes have their lights off, doors closed, and do not seem inviting of trick-or-treaters, skip to the next home.. Respect that these families might be making a conscious health decision to opt out of trick-or-treating this Halloween.

  • Sanitize When Possible

    Because many children will be reaching into the same pots of candy all night, be sure your family washes their hands whenever possible to kill any bacteria. If you cannot get to soap and water for parts of the evening, consider using a hand sanitizer -- ideally without harmful chemicals.

  • Incorporate Masks into Costumes

    If you go to a public area or party, you should always have a mask. Luckily, many people are already wearing face coverings or masks on Halloween. Consider creative ways to work your mask or PPE into your costume and further stunt transmission of germs.

Click to See Our Sources

"Holiday Celebrations," CDC.gov, 2020