Trick-or-treating in a pandemic? Expert shares advice to keep kids safe

Girl in holding a pumpkin bucket.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spooked Halloween, leaving many parents and kids wondering if the holiday will be one of the many events altered by the coronavirus.

With new reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics showing nearly 658,000 children testing positive for COVID-19, health care experts at Augusta University are urging caution and care during Halloween.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives, and that means Halloween will have to be a little different this year,” says Dr. Rodger MacArthur, an infectious disease physician at the Medical College of Georgia and Augusta University Health. “I know it will be tough mapping out safe activities this year, but you have to have a plan for before, during and after your holiday events to keep your family safe during this pandemic.”

Below are a few tips for making sure little goblins have fun and stay healthy:

Plan a virtual costume party. Since large events should be avoided for now, use your favorite video chat software to host a virtual costume party with friends and family.

Social distance when visiting a pumpkin patch or orchard. Be sure to use hand sanitizer before and after touching pumpkins or apples. Although this is an outdoor event, continue wearing your mask and social distancing.

Choose the individually wrapped goodie bags. To lower the chances of being exposed to COVID-19, participate in one-way trick-or-treating where goodie bags are individually wrapped and lined up for families to grab and go. Those preparing goodie bags should wash their hands at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags.

Be cautious about haunted houses and hayrides. Indoor haunted houses should be avoided and only participate in hayrides or tractor rides that limit the number of passengers per ride. As an added precaution, do not take rides with people who are not in your household.

MacArthur also recommends avoiding handing treats to children who go door to door, trunk-or-treat events where treats are passed out from trunks of cars and crowded indoor costume parties.

Learn more about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on Halloween and schedule an interview with MacArthur to learn more tips to keep your family safe.

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Written by
Danielle Harris

Danielle Harris is Senior Media Relations Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-7511 or

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Written by Danielle Harris

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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