Trick-or-Treat Safe Alternatives and Risks

Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. The Town of Waxhaw encourages residents to be safe and support others in the community by participating in safer, alternative activities for Halloween. It is strongly recommended to have alternative Halloween plans, instead of the traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating. If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.

The guidance below, adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Halloween Guidance, outlines recommendations to keep our communities safe.  

  •  Costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask and should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face. 

  • Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask, because it may make it difficult to breathe. Instead, please consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.

  • During any events, if screaming will likely occur, the CDC recommends a greater distance between individuals. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.

Please stay safe. We appreciate your support and cooperation as we navigate this ever-changing environment to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community. 

For additional resources, please visit:

American Academy of Pediatrics: Halloween Health and Safety Tips

NCDHHS: North Carolina COVID-19

CDC: Considerations for Events and Gatherings

HHS/OSHA: Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19


These lower risk activities can be safe alternatives to celebrate Halloween:

  • Carving pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them

  • Carving pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends

  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space

  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance

  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest

  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with

  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

WAX_COVID Halloween_Low


These moderate risk activities, and are not recommended to celebrate Halloween:

  • Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab-and-go while social distancing (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)

  • Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6-feet apart

  • Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart

  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer 

  • Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart

WAX_COVID Halloween_Moderate


Please know your risks and help support the community by: 

  • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door

  • Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots

  • Attending crowded costume parties held indoors

  • Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming

  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household

  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors

  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19

Waxhaw Halloween 2020 (3)