row of candle-lit Halloween pumpkins

This Version Posted: October 19, 2020

Halloween is a popular celebration, but due to COVID-19, play it safe. Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading illness, so continuing with them in the middle of COVID-19 is not recommended. The key is to find a balance between keeping safe while trying to maintain some sense of normalcy.

This Halloween, consider safer alternatives that can be done close to home. You and your family can still celebrate the season in ‘spooktacular’ fashion – along with peace of mind.

On This Page:

  • The Health Unit recommends rethinking the usual door-to-door trick-or-treating this year due to COVID-19 concerns. Instead, find creative ways to celebrate the season at home.
  • Print and display an appropriate poster to tell neighbours if you are handing out treats. Select either the Welcome Trick or Treaters poster or Sorry See You Next Year version.
  • If you want to hand out candy to hearty trick-or-treaters, plan for success. Individually wrap goodie bags and leave them out on a table or chair at the end of your walk or driveway. This allows trick-or-treaters to grab-and-go candy without having to knock on your door. Encourage physical distancing if trick-or-treaters line up for the goodie bags.
  • If you decide to hand out treats, do so outside being sure to wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Don’t handle candy or leave treats in a bucket/bowl for kids to grab. Instead, wear a face covering and use tongs or similar tools (even the end of a hockey stick) to safely hand out candy, ensuring you remain a safe distance away from trick-or-treaters.
  • Drop treats on your neighbour’s doorsteps, ring the bell, and run away! Make sure to include a spooky note letting your neighbour know they’re from you.
  • If your children are going out trick-or-treating, be sure everyone takes COVID-19 precautions:
    • Do NOT allow your children to go out if they are ill. Parents should also stay home if they are sick.
    • Only go out trick-or-treating with members of your direct household.
    • Only go trick-or-treating outdoors.
    • Maintain a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others at all times while trick-or-treating. Do not congregate or linger at doorsteps. Line up 2 metres (6-feet) apart if waiting. Avoid high-touch surfaces and objects.
    • Ensure your child wears a proper face covering while trick-or-treating. Choose a costume that makes wearing a mask or face covering easy for your child. Ensure the mask fits well and covers the nose, mouth and chin. Consider building the face covering into your child’s costume (cloth face masks can be made out of different fabrics to allow them to be part of a costume) .NOTE: A costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering. Do not put a costume mask over a face covering as this makes breathing difficult.
    • Wash hands with soap and water before trick-or-treating, when you return home and before snacking.
    • Bring alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you to use while trick-or-treating.
    • Leave any treats you collect for at least 24 hours. Have some ready-to-enjoy favourites set aside for children to enjoy when they return from trick-or-treating.
Halloween at Home

Consider these safer alternatives to do at home:

  • Buy treats for your children and enjoy them at home while watching a scary movie together.
  • Decorate for Halloween inside and outside your home and have children carve pumpkins to add to the festive display.
  • Showcase Halloween craft projects on your porch and in your front windows for your neighbours to enjoy.
  • Craft a countdown calendar – pick a fun Halloween activity to do each day or each weekend in October leading up to the big day.
  • Plan your own monster mash or ‘Halloween-at-home’ party. Get children to dress up in costume to mark the festivities.
  • Make your own spooky treats such as: clementine jack-o-lanterns, monster mix, or ghostly cookies.
  • Organize a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given holiday-themed items to look for around your home or property. You can also hide treats in different spots and get children to find them.
  • Do an ‘at-home’ version of trick-or-treating by setting up treat stations around your home that children can visit for goodies.
  • Pick out some Halloween themed books to read together.
  • Set up a piñata at home filled with your favourite Halloween treats.
  • Organize and hold a socially distanced costume parade with a few of your neighbours and keep the treats at home to enjoy afterwards.
  • Host a virtual party – set up video chats with friends and family members who can’t celebrate with you. Encourage children to show off their costumes and talk about their favourite treats.
  • Take photos of children dressed in Halloween costume and email/share with grandparents and older relatives who can’t be there in person.  
Social Gatherings
  • Avoid attending Halloween parties or social gatherings — especially those indoors. While Ontario does allow small indoor gatherings of 10 or fewer people and large outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, being in a social setting with others increases your risk of COVID-19. With cases on the rise in Ontario, it’s best not to take any chances.
  • Do not attend costume parties at other people’s homes. Instead, organize your own at home.
  • Avoid indoor haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming, increasing your risk of COVID-19.
  • If you do decide to attend a social gathering, follow COVID-19 precautions. Stay home if sick. Keep a 2 metre (6 foot) physical from others. Wear a mask or face covering. Wash your hands with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
Additional Resources