Halloween fun is encouraged — with smart precautions

Halloween is this weekend, and celebrating is encouraged as long as you take steps to keep yourself and others safe. That’s the advice of UW Medicine’s Dr. John Lynch, medical director of infection prevention and control at Harborview Medical Center.

“We can definitely celebrate Halloween. The things that I would put into place are thinking small – small pods, small groups, being outdoors,” says Lynch.

Trick-or-treaters' best protection against COVID-19 is a medical-grade or cloth mask underneath any decorative mask that may be part of a costume. 

“If your kids are out there, you want that mask [directly] against their face,” says Lynch.

He encourages families to keep their candy-gathering group small. Consider grouping up with families and friends that you’ve spent time with during the pandemic.

Candy dispensers should be masked when opening the door to trick-or-treaters because it provides protection to children too young to be vaccinated.

As for handling candy, Lynch said, “I think what we've learned over this last year is that the likelihood of getting COVID-19 from a piece of candy is extremely small.  Just handle it like you normally do. Wash your hands before you eat and enjoy your Halloween treats.”

If you plan to host or attend a small gathering this weekend, Lynch offers the following considerations:

  • Stay outdoors if the weather allows.
  • Wear a mask if indoors or around unvaccinated or at-risk people.
  • If indoors, ventilate your gathering space with open windows and doors.
  • Serve and enjoy food outdoors if possible or in a well-spaced area.

Access downloabable video assets with Lynch on how to prepare for Halloween weekend activities.

UW Medicine