Is trick or treating happening in your area? Here’s what you should know

With Halloween around the corner, one of the big questions is: Will there be trick or treating?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says for those who decide to go trick or treating during the pandemic, wearing only that Batman mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. But locally, some areas are saying to avoid trick or treating all together.


The District is strongly discouraging door-to-door trick-or-treating. D.C. has it ranked as a “high risk” activity along with “trunk or treating” — a modified trick-or-treating in parking lots — as it involves close contact with people not from the same household.

The health department recommends low risk activity instead, including a trick-or-treat candy hunt or carving pumpkins over video chat.

Along with these guidelines, Georgetown says there will be no in-person Halloween activities supported this year.

“The only masks we want to see this month are ones that prevent the spread of COVID,” said Joe Sternlieb, President & CEO of the Georgetown Business Improvement District. “There are many alternative ways to still celebrate Halloween, both virtually and in spirit, but there are no in-person Halloween activities or events supported in Georgetown this year.”


The Anne Arundel County Department of Health recommends avoiding traditional trick-or-treating but says if families want to head out that they should maintain social distancing.

Frederick County health officials say if families are going trick-or-treating to make sure they wear an appropriate mask for safety. They say a costume mask should not be used unless it is made of more than two layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t gap around the face. If wearing a cloth mask under a costume mask, make sure that the mask wearer can still breathe comfortably. Another option, local health officials say, is to wear a Halloween-themed mask.

In Howard County, trick-or-treating is not encouraged, but if done, county health officials say families should only go with those they live with, keep physical distance between other groups and use flashlights or glowsticks so walkers can be easily seen.

Montgomery County is not recommending traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating this year or “trunk-or-treating” events. Instead they are promoting things like drive-through events where families stay in their vehicles and possibly receive “commercially packaged” treat bags.

Prince George’s County officials are “strongly recommending” against the traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating. If families do decide to trick-or-treat, the county asks families to stay with members of the same household, stay 6 feet away from others, avoid large gatherings and wear a face mask.


The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department is strongly urging residents to choose lower-risk Halloween and Dia de los Muertos activities this year to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 outbreaks. They recommend a scavenger hunt with members of the same household or a movie night in.

Arlington County is reminding locals that traditional trick-or-treating is considered a “higher-risk activity. “Everyone planning to celebrate Halloween this year should avoid close contact with people who do not live in their household, wear a mask, keep 6-feet of distance and practice frequent and proper hand washing,” said Arlington County Public Health Director Dr. Reuben Varghese.

Fairfax County officials are not recommending traditional trick-or-treating, designating it as a higher-risk activity.

“In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. For people who are more likely to experience severe illness from COVID-19, celebrating virtually or with members of your own household may be the safest way to enjoy the holiday,” said Fairfax Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu.

Loudoun County officials recommend that local families do not engage in traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating this Halloween or other activities that risk transmission of COVID-19.

“We all have a role in making Halloween as safe as possible this year by taking precautions that limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said Loudoun County Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend.

Prince William County health officials are recommending that families do not participate in traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating.

“After being stuck indoors for months, cabin fever may really be getting to residents, and they may want to venture out. However, we are still in the midst of a pandemic. It is important that everyone exercise prudence and caution. This will help us all stay healthy and well,” said Prince William Health District Director Dr. Alison Ansher.

Stafford County is reminding residents that traditional trick-or-treating to trunk-or-treats are considered high-risk activities.

They say moderate risk activities this year include grab-and-go goodies for trick-or-treaters placed at the end of driveways or having a socially distanced outdoor costume parade.

They recommend virtual events or partaking in celebrations only with those in a single household.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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