How to Avoid Sick-Or-Treating; Halloween Safety Tips from the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Kids in masks trick-or-treating

Halloween might seem a bit scarier this year with COVID-19 lurking around the corner.  Following these recommendations from the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) can ensure a safe and spooktacular time:

  • Make sure everyone going trick-or-treating washes their hands before leaving the house and as soon as they return home. Carry hand sanitizer to use between houses.
  • Cloth maskscovering the nose and mouthshould be worn by children over the age of two, all adults with them and anyone handing out candy.
  • A costume Halloween mask should only be worn if it's made of two or more layers of fabric. Plastic masks with openings for the eyes and mouth do not provide the protection your child (or you) need. 
  • Do not let your child wear a cloth mask under a costume Halloween mask, because it could make it difficult for them to breathe.
  • Why not leave a bowl with individually-wrapped pieces of candy on your doorstep instead of greeting trick-or-treaters at your door? If you are not feeling well, or you or someone in your household may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not give out candy.
  • Indoor Halloween parties are discouraged. Keep any celebrations outside and in small groups as outlined in your state’s guidelines for gatherings.
  • Do not let your child go "sick-or-treating." If you or your child are not feeling well, or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, stay home.
  • Do not worry about wiping down individually-wrapped pieces of candy. Instead, be sure to practice good hand hygiene.

“If you do go trick-or-treating, remember to enjoy the fresh air and have some good family fun,” says Erik Shessler, MD, pediatrician at CHaD and president of the New Hampshire Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Follow these health tips and remember to stay visible to cars, carry glow sticks or flashlights and cross streets safely at crosswalks.”  

For more tips on how to stay healthy all year, visit  

About Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (D-HH), New Hampshire’s only academic health system and the state’s largest private employer, serves a population of 1.9 million across northern New England. D-HH provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH. DHMC was named again in 2020 as the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in 9 clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health includes the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 51 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation; Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the state’s only children’s hospital; member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene, and New London, NH, and Windsor, VT, and Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and 24 Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. The D-HH system trains nearly 400 residents and fellows annually, and performs world-class research, in partnership with the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT.

About CHaD

As New Hampshire's only full service, comprehensive children's hospital, the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth‐Hitchcock (CHaD) is committed to providing outstanding compassionate care for children and their families. Their physician expertise provides primary, specialty, and tertiary care to the children of New Hampshire, Vermont, and beyond. CHaD offers inpatient (hospital care) and outpatient (same day care) services at Dartmouth‐Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. Outpatient and same day surgery services are available at Dartmouth‐Hitchcock Manchester, as well as outpatient pediatric specialties at Wentworth‐Douglass Hospital, Dover and in Exeter. Primary care is available at Dartmouth‐Hitchcock facilities in Bedford, Concord, Keene, Lebanon, Manchester, and Nashua, NH, and Bennington, VT. For more information about CHaD, please visit or contact us at (603) 650‐KIDS or