Virginia Tech expert shares advice to families on how to safely celebrate Halloween this year

CDC issues COVID-19 guidelines for Halloween, classifies trick-or-treating as 'high risk'
Posted at 3:42 PM, Oct 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-10 15:42:00-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Halloween is right around the corner and many parents are wondering if they can safely send their children back into the tradition of tick-or-treating.

Virginia Tech professor of psychology and clinical child psychologist Tom Ollendick says despite being in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents should find safe ways to allow their kids to return to the fun tradition this Halloween.

“It’s almost like going back to school, church, or the movies or to visit family. It is another event-marker. For Halloween, it’s a milestone, almost literally because kids so look forward to trick-or-treating each year. It’s an event, a happy holiday for most kids,” said Ollendick.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky says trick-or-treating in small groups is a good option for kids, but wouldn't suggest going to a crowded party. Last year, the CDC considered trick-or-treating a “high-risk” activity.

“There is no doubt, last year youngsters missed out on something that they look forward to. We’ve done studies on how anxiety and stress is mounting in kids. Things that are fun like this can help in so many ways,” he said.

Ollendick says trick-or-treating should start earlier this year while there is still daylight around 5 or 6 p.m. The VT expert also suggests that kids should go with another child or two or with adults.

“The main point is this is an important time for children, and it’s important that we do as much as we can to make it as normal as we can. And to not steer away from it and not be stuck at home – and thinking they can’t go out, when they really can under safe conditions. Try to make it as normal and as much fun as possible,” he said.