Bay Area health officials announce COVID guidelines for safe, fun Halloween night

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As the CDC made their recommendations for safe ways to enjoy the holiday season, Bay Area health officials offered their own guidelines and recommendations for Halloween this year.

In two weeks' time, witches, monsters and ghosts will take over the Bay Area on Halloween night.

RELATED: How to celebrate Halloween safely, according to a doctor

It's a good thing we found a little one in San Jose who will dress up as a superhero as she goes out trick or treating for the first time.

"Just definitely being able to take her out so she can have the full experience," Veronica Gudino said about her daughter. "Dressing her up, obviously getting candy, but at the end of the day, it's more about her experience getting to see what most kids have been able to do for the last years."

While some people enjoyed a new way to holiday last year, Halloween is getting the safety seal of approval from medical experts in 2021, with some precautions in mind.

"We know families really look forward to Halloween," Alameda County Public Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said. "It's a fun time, but COVID is still out there in our communities and there are things that people can do to reduce the risk. These are just some simple rules that families can follow to try to keep each other safe."

Almost across the board in the Bay Area, health officers are offering the same safety advice to families celebrating Halloween and Dia de los Muertos this year.

According to an Alameda County press release residents should:

Get fully vaccinated.
  • Vaccines are our best protection against infection. All three currently available vaccines are safe and effectively reduce risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death due to COVID-19.


Stay home if you have, or think you may have, COVID-19.
  • Do not attend celebrations or participate in activities if you feel sick, or if you have come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and you are not yet fully vaccinated.


Gather outdoors.
  • Indoor activities where people from different households mix, like haunted houses or indoor mazes, are higher risk for everyone-especially for persons not yet vaccinated.


Take safety precautions when trick-or-treating.
  • If participating in traditional outdoor trick-or-treating, wear a face mask or keep your distance from others to help reduce your risk of getting COVID-19.

  • Take hand sanitizer with you and use it frequently. Remember to wash your hands after coming home, and especially before eating any treats.


Keep gatherings small.
  • Large gatherings, even if they are outdoors, pose risk for COVID-19.

  • Events with crowds greater than 1,000 indoor attendees or crowds greater than 10,000 outdoor attendees must comply with California's Mega-Event Guidance.


Wear a face mask.
  • Vaccinated individuals can carry COVID-19 without showing symptoms. Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, is required to wear a face mask in indoor public settings.

  • Face masks are recommended in private settings where not everyone has been vaccinated or when around people who are otherwise vulnerable or whose immune systems are compromised.

  • A costume mask is not a substitute for a well-fitted face mask that covers your mouth and nose. Avoid wearing a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe.


"I mean, I love those scary masks, but when we're talking about masking for COVID, it's either those medical masks or even a good two-layer fabric mask that fits close around the nose and mouth," Dr. Moss said. "That can help as well."

As Dr. Moss said, COVID is still out there and families may still have concerns about enjoying the festivities safely.

But UCSF Epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford says if you follow the guidelines, you can have a fun and safe time on Halloween night.

"First and foremost, everyone should enjoy Halloween," Dr. Rutherford said. "It's the best day of the kid year after Christmas, right? I completely agree with the recommendations and it's going to be quite safe with some common sense precautions."

So be safe and have a scary good time.

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