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Keeping kids safe on Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic

How can you celebrate Halloween safely this year? The main piece of advice is to keep gatherings small and outside. Read more tips from the BC Children’s experts.
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​Want to protect your mini-goblins this year, but still have a spook-tacular Halloween? 

Children aged five to 11 like to trick-or-treat, but still aren’t eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. We know the Delta variant can transmit easily so it’s important to continue to follow public health advice, even for Halloween. 

BC Children’s Hospital Trauma Manager Michelle Dodds has some ideas on the best ways to reduce COVID-19 transmission among groups of kids.

“Outdoors is safer than indoors and smaller gatherings are safer than larger gatherings, especially if they involve kids 12 and older who aren’t vaccinated,” she says.

Fall is also typically the season with the most child pedestrian injuries. 

“Halloween can be a bit of a mad scramble, with excited kids running across roads and drivers potentially distracted by everything around them," says Dodds. "But there are things we can do to make the night safer for everyone, and still have a great time."

Here’s a checklist to help prep for the big night:

Pandemic prevention measures

  • Clean hands frequently: Wash your hands before and after going trick-or-treating. Keep hand sanitizer with you on the go. 
  • If you’re feeling sick or self-isolating, turn off your porch light and stay home.  
  • If possible, clean and disinfect doorbells and knobs, handrails, and any other high touch surfaces.

Be seen

  • Stick reflective tape to costumes, coats and treat bags.
  • Give children lights to wear or flashlights to hold and bring extra batteries.
  • The brighter the costume, the better.
  • Light the path for trick-or-treaters (& clear slippery leaves off stairs).

Be street-smart

  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of their vehicle.
  • If you have to walk on a road without a sidewalk, walk facing traffic so drivers can see you.
  • Encourage all crossings to happen at crosswalks or street corners.
  • Tell children to make sure to look left and right, and left again.
  • Drive slow, don’t drink and drive, and don’t drive high.

Create a hazard-free costume

  • Opt for face paint vs. masks, which can limit a child’s ability to see clearly.
  • Don’t have your child wear a mask under a costume mask because it may make it difficult for them to breathe.
  • Keep wigs and hats secured away from a child’s eyes.
  • Make sure all dresses and capes are above the ankle to prevent tripping.
  • Give kids well-fitting shoes or boots to avoid falls.

Eat healthy before trick-or-treating

  • Provide a healthy meal before children fill up on candy.
  • Check candy and throw out anything that isn’t wrapped.

Advice for young and older kids

  • Hold the hands of younger kids, who may be unsteady on slippery stairs or uneven sidewalks.
  • If older kids are on their own, they should stick to a planned route and meet up times so caregivers know when and where to find them.

Think about fire safety

  • Use battery candles in pumpkins.
  • Choose fire resistant costumes.
  • Skip fireworks - they commonly cause burns to the hands and face. 

Other helpful resources:

Halloween; BC Children's Hospital; Safety; COVID-19; masks; sanitizer
Children's Health
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