CDC Warns Against Traditional Trick-Or-Treating This Year

by Julie Scagell
halloween songs for kids
Ariel Skelley/ Getty Images

Traditional trick-or-treating is considered a high risk activity according to the CDC’s new guidelines

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just announced its first guidance for the holidays as many parents and caregivers are concerned about what trick-or-treating may look like for their kids this year.

The CDC has stated that traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating is being considered a high risk activity this year, as the U.S. has had over 6.8M coronavirus cases and over 200,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. This includes wearing costume masks (unless it is made of “two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers your mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around your face”) and attending or hosting Halloween or Day of the Dead celebrations, too.

“Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses,” the CDC said on its website. “There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween.”

The CDC listed low and moderate risk ideas for having a fun and safe Halloween this year. This includes having a Halloween scavenger hunt where children “admire Halloween decorations at a distance,” “attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart (except…kids), and, “having a Halloween movie night with people you live with.” Is this the right thing to do? Absolutely. Does it still suck royally for our kids? Absolutely times 1000.


Other high risk activities for Halloween include having “trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots,” attending indoor costume parties, going to an indoor haunted house, and going on group hayrides.


Of course, our kids have missed out on a lot this year. They miss being with friends, attending birthday parties, and being with teachers and classmates full-time in school. It’s not easy. But, kids are resilient. They are smart. There is so much information we now have that we didn’t in the beginning when it comes to social distancing, community spread, and how to protect ourselves. It’s not ideal, but then nothing really is right now.


The CDC also recommends that if you decide to participate in high risk activities and develop COVID-related symptoms or if you test positive for COVID-19, “immediately contact the host and others that attended the event or celebration that you attended. They may need to inform other attendees about their possible exposure to the virus.”

The only way we are going to get through this and prevent further spread is to actually take the recommendations from experts on how to be as safe as possible. Perhaps spending time this Halloween planning an epic bash for next Halloween is time well spent.

Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.