For children of all ages, Halloween means dressing up in a costume and heading out into the neighborhood with friends and family to trick-or-treat and collect candy.
With COVID-19 still spreading throughout much of the country, experts agree that people should continue to follow health guidance and, most importantly, get vaccinated. Our clinicians are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advising families to celebrate as safely as possible.
“The fact that we have vaccines against COVID-19 certainly provides a level of protection that we didn’t have at this time last year,” said Craig Robbins, MD, physician co-lead for Kaiser Permanente’s national COVID-19 vaccination program and medical director for the Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute’s Center for Clinical Information Services and Education. “Children really look forward to Halloween, so we think that kids can go trick-or-treating in small groups. We also have to remember that young children still cannot be vaccinated, so it’s important to practice protective measures.”
As family and neighborhood gatherings resume during the pandemic, parents might consider lower-risk alternatives, including the creative ideas we’ve provided, to traditional trick-or-treat activities. Wearing well-fitting masks as part of a Halloween costume and physical distancing are still encouraged for all, especially for people who are unvaccinated, including children under 12 years of age. And hand-washing and sanitizing are always encouraged.
“The most important thing adults and children over 12 can do to protect themselves against infection is to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Robbins. “While vaccination rates are high in some areas, more people need to get vaccinated so that society as a whole can benefit from the protection that vaccines provide and so we can continue to slow the spread of infection.”
Since health department guidelines vary by location, it’s important to check with your local public health department for additional guidance on safely celebrating Halloween this year.