Illinois health officials release updated guidance to help residents celebrate Halloween safely

The Illinois Department of Public Health issued updated guidance on Friday to help people celebrate Halloween safely this year as the state continues to battle COVID-19.

"Although we’re still in the pandemic, this Halloween and Fall festivities season will look a little different than last year thanks to the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines that are readily available," said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  "However, we must still take precautions as not everyone is vaccinated and a vaccine for children younger than 12 year is not yet available."


Masks are currently required in all indoor public locations in Illinois.

A costume mask is not considered a substitute for a well-fitting mask, IDPH officials said.

It is not recommended to wear a costume mask over a face covering because it could make breathing more difficult, health officials said.

IDPH recommends choosing a costume that does not come with a costume mask or to find a costume that incorporates a face covering. 


Residents who are handing out goodies while indoors, should open doors and windows as much as possible to increase ventilation, health officials said.

It is also advised to wear a mask while handing out treats.

Those receiving treats or handing out treats should also wash their hands.

Trick-or-treating outdoors in small groups is recommended, IDPH officials said.

Instead of door-to-door trick-or-treating, you can also set up tables in a parking lot or other safe outdoor areas where individually wrapped treats can be set out, health officials said.

Haunted houses, woods, walks

IDPH officials recommend attending open-air haunted houses as opposed to enclosed haunted houses.

Masks are required to be worn in indoor haunted houses. The number of people inside haunted houses should also be limited.

Other safe ways to celebrate Halloween this year include visiting outdoor haunted woods or going on a haunted walk.

Pumpkin patches, festivals

IDPH officials recommend visiting pumpkin patches, orchards and festivals during times that aren't busy.

It is also recommended to stay away from crowded areas and to wear a mask.

Halloween parties, social gatherings

Small gatherings and outdoor parties are safer than large gatherings and indoor parties, officials said.

If indoors in a public setting, masks must be worn. Masks can also be worn in private settings when it is difficult to social distance, IDPH said.

If hosting an indoor gathering, health officials recommend opening doors and windows to increase air flow.

Día Los Muertos

Holding events and activities outdoors to honor deceased loved ones for Día de los Muertos is safer than indoors, IDPH said.

If gathering indoors, try to physically distance as much as possible. Additionally, increase air flow by opening windows. 

Another option to celebrate and remember deceased loved ones is to exchange traditional family recipes with family or neighbors that they can make at home, IDPH said.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, IDPH says not to participate in any Halloween or Fall events.