Pumpkin patch during sunset

Have a Safer Halloween During COVID-19

Author: Joint Information Center
Date: 10/10/2020 9:00 AM

The usual spooky festivities for Halloween may feel extra scary due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, you can enjoy safe celebrations and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Disclaimer: This information may be outdated. For the most recent guidance and case details, visit SLOPublicHealth.org/covid19.

Updated on 10/13/20 1:40 PM

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released guidance for safer Halloween and Día de los Muertos celebrations during COVID-19 (Léelo en español). Like the County's guidance referenced below, the CDPH's guidance strongly discourages traditional trick-or-treating and encourages families to plan safer alternatives. Suggestions include a candy scavenger hunt at home, scheduling online activities like pumpkin carving and costume contests, and car-based tours of Halloween displays.

The guidance also covers Día de los Muertos, a Mexican tradition celebrated in the Latino community honoring the deceased. Día de los Muertos celebrations often include gatherings of extended family as well as cemetery visits. Families are encouraged to place traditional indoor alters outside so others can view them from a safe distance, create virtual altars online and keep cemetery visits short in duration and limited to people within the same household.

Original Post 10/10/2020 at 9:00 AM:

The usual spooky festivities for Halloween may feel extra scary due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, you can enjoy safe celebrations and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Follow the local COVID-19 Halloween Guidance below to have a fun and safe Halloween!

Face Coverings

Scary Halloween masks won’t cut it this year. You will need to wear a cloth face-covering, so why not make it fun? Dress up with a festive one to match your costume and have your kids decorate their face coverings to complement their costumes.

Physical Distancing

If you are out trick-or-treating, travel only with your household members or small social bubble, remember to wear your dressed-up cloth face covering, stay at least 6 feet away from other ghouls and goblins, and keep interactions with others outside of your household brief. 


Remember, the virus may be lurking. So wash your hands often and keep the sanitizer handy. Be sure to clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces. Do not share costume props or food. And, of course, if you feel sick, stay home and away from others. 

Celebrating a COVID-19 Halloween Creatively

These ideas will help you and others be extra safe while still celebrating Halloween:

  • Host a virtual Halloween “watch” party with online video/chat and have best costume or craft project contests.
  • Have a Halloween movie night with household members either at home or the drive-in.
  • Organize a neighborhood “car costume” parade where participants decorate their vehicles and judges watch the vehicles drive by while physical distancing between each other.
  • Coordinate a contact-free neighborhood scavenger hunt.

Passing Out Treats?

Traditional trick-or-treating is strongly discouraged this year, but you can make giving treats safer by taking a different approach. Try passing out pre-packaged treats outdoors, such as a porch or driveway, using one of these ideas:

  • Set up a table to stand behind and hand out candy (while wearing a face covering) using a candy-grabber or tongs, to help you keep a safe distance from trick-or-treaters.
  • Make treat bags and hang them from streamers outside for kids to grab.
  • Create a candy luge and slide treats to trick-or-treaters from a distance.
  • Place a bowl of candy and bottle of hand sanitizer at the end of the driveway/walkway.

Let’s Review the “No-No’s”

  • Don’t use your hands to deliver treats.
  • If you are not feeling well or are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.), do not go out in the public and do not pass out candy​.
  • Don’t attend or host an in-person gathering, including festivals, costume parties, or trunk-or-treat events. Social gatherings with individuals outside of your household are not allowed, even if they are outdoors, because they create a much higher risk for spreading COVID-19 (many cases in SLO County can be traced to social gatherings). The risk of COVID-19 in SLO County is substantial, and not everyone has symptoms. If you choose to gather, at the very least do it smarter – wear a face covering and keep it small, outdoors, and only with those in your “social bubble.”

An Important Message about COVID-19 Testing

Have you spent time with people outside of your household and you weren’t able to physically distance? You may have been unknowingly exposed to COVID-19, and you should get tested before Halloween festivities begin. SLO County has four community COVID-19 testing sites. Testing is free and appointment times are easy to get (same-day or next-day appointments are available). Testing also helps our community; high testing numbers help improve our adjusted case rate to meet the State’s metrics for lifting restrictions on local businesses and activities.

Visit ReadySLO.org to view the full SLO County COVID-19 Halloween Guidance.

Happy Halloween!