Skip to main content

Traditional trick-of-treating is a no-no, but MN health officials say there are ways to make it safer

There are safer ways to do trick-or-treating than going door-to-door, health officials say.
trick-or-treating, Halloween

Undecided about bringing your kids trick-or-treating on Saturday? For starters, traditional door-to-door and trunk-or-treating is not recommended by the CDC, but Minnesota health officials noted during a media call Wednesday that the CDC hasn't flat out said don't trick-or-treat. 

"They don't say 'thou shall not,' said Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director with the Minnesota Department of Health. "They just say that if you're looking at levels of risk of how you choose celebrate Halloween, that would be something they would recommend against."

Ehresmann was responding to a question from Star Tribune reporter Jeremy Olson, who questioned the strict Halloween guidance the CDC and state health officials have been promoting. Olson's question, verbatim, was: 

"Moderate risk is spending 15 minutes with someone, and it also seems like there's not a lot of surface or fomite contact as a transmission risk so it makes me wonder about all these precautions over Halloween because a lot of those have to do with the handing out of candy. If there's not a lot of surface contact is that really something we need to deal with, same with just brief interactions at a door. Is all of this really necessary?

"You're absolutely right that we're talking about minimal contact," said Ehresmann. "I think that CDC is trying to help people recognize that an activity in which you are going from door-to-door and exposing yourself to multiple individuals that are not part of your household and taking things from those individuals, I think that they're saying 'you know what, the multiple elements of that make that a higher risk activity.'"

She added: "In other words, if you went to one door and left and didn't go to any others, that's one thing. But when you're going door-to-door-to-door that's concerning and then you're not only going door-to-door, you're taking things. That's what they're looking at in terms of classifying risk."

Instead of handing treats directly to trick-or-treaters, the CDC advises anyone participating in the traditional activity this year to instead wrap goodie bags and line them up at the end of your driveway or at the edge of a yard for trick-or-treaters to grab. 

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Ehresmann said traditional trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treating, crowded indoor costume contests and indoor haunted houses are "things that put you at much higher risk for COVID." 

Virtual costume parties and treat searches in your house and yard with household members only are recommended instead of traditional Halloween festivities this year. 

The advice from the Department of Health comes as Commissioner Jan Malcolm compared surging COVID-19 numbers in Minnesota to a "strengthening winter storm," noting that "when we're facing a winter storm we ask people to stay off the roads." 

The latest forecast from Novak Weather

Next Up

Brave New Comedy Workshop in downtown Minneapolis.

Brave New Workshop cancels shows due to COVID-19 cases

The shows were scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre.

Austin Retterath

Body of missing U of M student found in Mississippi River

Austin Retterath was last seen alive in the morning hours of May 8.

"Love" mural seen in St. Paul.

Summer mural events to bring together community, shine light on MN artists

The 2022 Chroma Zone Mural & Art Festival will take place this weekend in St. Paul's Creative Enterprise Zone, with ensuing events happening this summer.


Gallery: Remodeled lakeside home in Prior Lake on market for $2.8M

It offers privacy at the end of a dead-end road fronting onto Lower Prior Lake.

golden valley police department

Carjacking outside ice arena in Golden Valley under investigation

Golden Valley PD confirmed it received a report of a carjacking Monday evening.


Signs that MN Legislature could move to loosen liquor laws

A provision was approved by a legislature committee on Thursday but still awaits a final decision from the House and Senate.

US Bank Stadium

U.S. Bank Stadium looking to hire 400 part-time workers

A hiring fair will be held for the positions.

Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 8.55.56 AM

Officials looking for man last seen leaving Hudson home

David Mckay, 67, was last seen in Hudson Thursday morning.


'Hyper-contagious' BA.4, BA.5 COVID variants confirmed in MN

Omicron continues to evolve into a more transmissible virus.

covid-19, coronavirus

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, May 20

The latest data shows there are 442 people with COVID hospitalized in Minnesota.


trick-or-treating, Halloween

Coronavirus: Will MN ban trick-or-treating like Los Angeles County?

A state health official says it's premature to decide right now.

Halloween, trick-or-treating

Osterholm on safe trick-or-treating: 'I would say go ahead with it'

The infectious disease expert's opinion doesn't align with the CDC's guidance.

halloween trick or treat

Dr. Fauci says trick-or-treating this year is OK, 'enjoy it'

“Particularly if you’re vaccinated, you can get out there ... and enjoy it," the nation's top infections disease doctor said.

pumpkins halloween

Check out MN's COVID-19 guidelines for Halloween, Dia de los Muertos

Carving pumpkins and no-contact trick-or-treating are safer options to celebrate, MDH says.

trick-or-treating, Halloween

Here's how cold it will be during trick-or-treating hours in MN

Temps falling into the upper 20s in most places by 8 p.m.

trick or treating halloween

COVID: Mayo Clinic's tips for staying safe while trick-or-treating

A layered approach, especially for those who aren't vaccinated, is recommended.


MN health officials criticize CDC change to COVID-19 testing guidelines

The MDH wants asymptomatic people who may have been exposed to get tested.