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Halloween Safety in the Coronavirus Era

Cedars-Sinai Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Advises Parents to Skip Trick-or-Treating This Year and Get Creative

Halloween isn't going to be the same this year, but families can still have fun while reducing their risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 (coronavirus), says Priya Soni, MD, a Cedars-Sinai pediatric infectious disease specialist.

"The bottom line is there is no safe way to celebrate a traditional Halloween in this pandemic," Soni said.

Haunted houses are on Soni's list of don'ts because they are often poorly ventilated. She also advises parents to avoid additional Halloween traditions, including indoor parties and communal candy bowls. And Soni gives a definite no to trick-or-treating door to door. 

"Even if your children are masked," said Soni, "they should not be interacting with dozens of strangers."

Soni also has suggestions of ways parents and kids can celebrate the holiday safely:

  • Engage in seasonal activities, such as pumpkin carving or decorating the house.
  • Host a Zoom costume contest with friends and family.
  • If there is a get-together, make sure everyone is masked and it's outdoors.

When it comes to masks, parents should be aware that a costume mask won't prevent virus spread. Many costume masks only cover the eyes or half the face, such as the well-known Batman mask. Other full-face costume masks have a mouth hole, enabling the spread of respiratory droplets, which carry the virus.

"We understand Halloween is a really fun holiday that children look forward to," Soni said. "But we may have to skip some of the fun this year while looking for unique and different ways to celebrate safely at home."

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: 20 Years of Halloween Costumes in the NICU