Social Distancing and Halloween

by Suzanne Carroll

Since California began its COVID-19 lockdown in March, many holidays and traditions have looked different this year. Graduation ceremonies were held online, Independence Day passed without local fireworks and baseball games were held in near-empty stadiums. Now, Halloween is just around the corner, and festivities promise to be more subdued than usual. While COVID-19 cases remain steady in California, they’re climbing rapidly in other parts of the country. State health officials still recommend wearing a mask when you’re outside your home, staying at least six feet away from others and washing your hands frequently.

Bobbing for apples may be out this year, but there are still many low-risk ways to enjoy a safe and healthy Halloween. Consider the following tips.


Go all-out with decorating. Social distancing guidelines have no impact on your ability to create a spooky yard display or carve jack-o-lanterns. Why not do something a little extra this year?

Stay in your car. Organize a neighborhood car parade with decorated vehicles or head to a drive-in to catch a scary movie. 

Take a neighborhood walk. Door-to-door trick-or-treating isn’t advised this year as it poses a greater risk of COVID-19 transmission, but that doesn’t mean your family can’t put on costumes and enjoy a walk around your neighborhood. 

Use the right mask. A costume mask doesn’t offer the same kind of protection as a cloth or surgical mask. Be creative and make your mask part of your costume. 

Visit a pumpkin patch. COVID-19 transmission risk is lower outdoors. You can still safely visit a pumpkin patch, an orchard or a corn maze as long as you wear a mask, stay six feet away from others and use hand sanitizer.

Celebrate indoors. While kids should avoid trick-or-treating and parties, parents can still plot candy treasure hunts, create a haunted house or plan a Zoom costume party with friends. 

Keep strangers outdoors. If you do have trick-or-treaters, distribute candy outdoors, wear a mask and use hand sanitizer after each visitor. 


For more ideas on how to celebrate Halloween responsibly in 2020, consult the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.