Halloween Tips and Tricks

Updated October 20, 2021.

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Don't let COVID-19 haunt your house

Celebrating Halloween is a cherished fall tradition for many people. Thanks to the COVID-19 vaccines, many Coloradans are now protected from the virus. But COVID-19 is still spreading in Colorado. It’s still important to take precautions for a safer Halloween, especially for children who are too young to get the vaccine.

Delta variant is now the most widespread strain of the COVID-19 virus. Data shows delta variant spreads more than twice as easily from one person to another compared with earlier strains. Delta is also more likely to affect young people than earlier strains. 

The best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. Everyone age 12 and older can get a COVID-19 vaccine. Science shows that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and very effective at preventing infections. Even more importantly, the vaccines help prevent serious illness for those who do get infected, even with delta variant.

Think carefully about how you might lower the risk this Halloween, not only for yourself and your family, but for your community. Here are some ideas about how to celebrate safely. If you are eligible, you should get a booster dose of vaccine to make sure you stay protected.

General recommendations

Follow local guidance.

Some counties may have local rules for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Follow the guidance of your local public health department

Protect yourself and others.
  • Avoid in-person celebrations if you:

    • Are sick, especially with COVID-19 symptoms

    • Have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are currently in quarantine.

    • Have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently isolating.

  • People aged 2 and older who are not fully vaccinated should wear a mask in indoor public places.

  • Consider wearing a mask even if you are fully vaccinated. Wearing a mask can help protect you against breakthrough cases. It can also help prevent the virus from spreading to others.

  • People with weakened immune systems may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated. If you are immunocompromised, consider talking to your health care provider about getting an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as well as what precautions you should continue to take.  

Choose safer activities for children under 12. 
  • Right now, children under 12 can’t get vaccinated against COVID-19. Until a vaccine becomes available for younger children, the best thing parents can do is to get vaccinated themselves. 

  • One of the easiest ways to make an activity safer for unvaccinated children age 2 and older is to ask your child to wear a mask. If accompanying adults wear masks as well, this may help normalize and encourage mask-wearing for children. 

  • Gather with family members and close friends who you know have been vaccinated. If all other attendees at an activity are vaccinated, the risk to unvaccinated children is low. 

Choose the safest options for everyone.
  • Outdoor gatherings are generally safer than indoor gatherings.

  • Smaller groups are generally safer than larger groups. 

  • Shorter gatherings are generally safer than longer gatherings.

Costume masks vs. COVID-19 masks
  • Costume masks are not a substitute for masks that protect against COVID-19. Masks that protect against COVID-19 should be made from two or more breathable fabric layers that cover the nose and mouth, with no gaps around the face. Wear COVID-19-protective masks when indoors or if you are not fully vaccinated.

  • If wearing a costume mask over a cloth mask makes it hard to breathe, consider a Halloween-themed cloth mask as part of the costume instead.

Personal gatherings
  • Have Halloween events outside whenever possible.

  • Remind guests to stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms, are positive for COVID-19, or have had recent close contact with someone with COVID-19.

  • Keep a list of guests and their contact information so they can be notified quickly in the event of a COVID-19 exposure.

  • If gathering indoors, improve ventilation by bringing in air from outdoors (opening windows and doors when safe) or maximizing air filtration and circulation through an HVAC or portable system.

Ideas for safer celebrations
  • Organize a neighborhood costume parade with predetermined routes marked to maintain safe distances between participants.

  • Go to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest, pumpkin patch, or corn maze where you can maintain a safe distance from people outside of your household. 

  • Have an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family and friends. If screaming is likely (it is Halloween after all!), we advise greater distancing between people. 

  • Plan a small get-together, ideally outdoors, with vaccinated guests.

Haunted houses, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, etc., held in public spaces.

  • Adhere to state and local orders and restrictions.

  • Require timed reservations to limit occupants, lines, and areas of congestion.

  • Create a one-direction flow of participants with signs, directional arrows, and spacing indicators.

  • Remind participants before arrival and onsite to stay home if sick, exposed, positive for COVID-19, or quarantined.

  • Use signs to remind participants to use masks if unvaccinated, maintain safe distance, and frequently wash hands.

  • Set up handwashing stations.

  • Consider exclusively outdoor spaces.

  • Consider requiring COVID-19 masks in indoor settings, except when eating or drinking. Consider requiring proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test to further reduce risk. 

  • For more information, see CDC’s Event Planning FAQs.