• By Deb Balzer

Mayo Clinic Minute: High- vs. low-risk Halloween ideas

October 21, 2021

It can be a balancing act trying to figure out what's safe for your children, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and keeping them happy. 

Children under 12 are not yet eligible to be vaccinated for COVID-19, and they usually are the ones most eager to experience Halloween traditions like trick-or-treating.

Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at Mayo Clinic Children's Center says you can keep your children safe and happy. To do so, you need to understand the risks.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (0:58) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please courtesy: "Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.

Halloween might be one day, but autumn is a month of fun. Dr. Rajapakse says, with precautions, families can find ways to enjoy both safely.

"One of the big things that we've learned about how the virus is spread is that it really doesn't spread well outdoors," Dr. Rajapakse says.

Apple orchards are a low-risk option. Pumpkin patch visits are, too. Bring a pumpkin home and carve it with the kids.

"High-risk activities to avoid would be any indoor, crowded setting, for example, like an indoor Halloween party, especially where you have lots of young kids who are likely unvaccinated," Dr. Rajapakse says.

Masks are a big part of Halloween, so make them fun. Keep your trick-or-treating group small and avoid indoor gatherings. Dr. Rajapakse says keeping kids safe is the priority.

"When it comes to COVID-19 prevention strategies, using a layered approach is what is most effective."

For instance, get vaccinated if eligible, wear a mask in public, avoid crowded indoor spaces and practice good hand hygiene.

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For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a nonpatient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Learn more about tracking COVID-19 and COVID-19 trends.

Oct. 14, 2021- Mayo Clinic COVID-19 trending map using red color tones for hot spots