Can kids trick-or-treat safely this year? Here’s what experts are saying

Trick-or-treating is something kids look forward to every year.

Hunting for the perfect costume, going door-to-door trick-or-treating, and trading your least favorite candy is just a part of the fun kids have this time each year, not to mention the costume parades, Halloween parties, and haunted houses.

Only this year, it looks A LOT different. Many parents wonder – should we even trick-or-treat? We took a look at what the experts think.

Is Halloween 2020 canceled?

First, the good news: No, Halloween 2020 isn’t canceled. 

But it will look different. How different? 

Taking a look at the CDC’s guidelines, traditional trick-or-treating is a high-risk activity. Trunk-or-treat falls in the same category as does crowded Halloween parties and indoor haunted houses. You know, all the fun things everyone loves to do for Halloween.

So what does the CDC think might be safe?

Small, socially distanced Halloween parades are a moderate risk if held outdoors. As are outdoor costume parties (low limits though) and one-way outdoor haunted trails or forests. The CDC still thinks going to a pumpkin patch is okay too as long as everyone wears a mask, and hand sanitizer is readily available both and after picking your pumpkin. 

No matter what you do, it should be outdoors, socially distanced, and you should wear a mask.

Should kids trick-or-treat?

What kids really want to know, though, is can they trick-or-treat? We know the traditional method is a no-go, or at least should be in most areas of the country. But what about one-way trick-or-treating?

The CDC thinks it’s a moderate risk to have candy laid out on a table, for example, allowing kids to grab their own candy that’s separated from the other candy. In other words, kids aren’t digging their hands in the same bowl or even coming into contact with homeowners. They grab their candy from the table and don’t touch anything else. At least that’s the hope.

Eating the candy

But what about eating the candy? This is half of the fun! While kids may have to go without the candy swaps, there may be little risk in eating the candy.

Most experts believe the risk of the virus on wrappers is very slim. After all, we buy food from the store and eat it. You could buy your own candy and eat it, basically assuming the same risk.

Experts recommend the following.

Kids should wash or sanitize their hands before opening candy wrappers. They should avoid touching the candy, and only touching the wrapper, dropping the candy itself onto a clean plate. Kids should then wash their hands with soap and water (don’t use sanitizer) after opening the candy but before eating it.

What else can kids do?

If that sounds like too much or you just don’t want to take the risk, stick to some lower-risk activities this Halloween.

Carving pumpkins, decorating your house, and having a Halloween virtual costume party are all perfectly safe.

Try keeping your celebrations with your immediate household members to avoid the risk of spreading the disease, especially during a holiday when everyone wants to be out and in large groups.

While it may look different, making it as fun as possible for your own household can be exciting. Think of it as a time to come up with new traditions or try new things and make the most of what Halloween can be this year.