No, a Halloween mask doesn’t count as a face covering that will protect you from COVID-19

safe Halloween masks
Photo via Peter Handke/Flickr (Public Domain)

If you’re hoping to go trick or treating this Halloween, you might be tempted to skip your usual COVID-19 face mask and opt for a more festive, holiday-appropriate mask. According to the CDC, however, a Halloween mask does not provide enough protection against the virus.

“Do not use a costume mask (such as for Halloween) as a substitute for a cloth mask unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers your mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around your face,” a CDC holiday guidance update states.

The agency also does not recommend doubling up and wearing a Halloween mask over a cloth mask as it can be dangerous and impede breathing comfortably. Instead, trick or treaters can opt for safe, Halloween-themed cloth masks. Make sure you pick ones that are made of breathable materials that can snugly fit over your nose and mouth.

If you are taking your child out for a safer, low-risk Halloween activity like a scavenger hunt, or even a moderately risky one-way version of trick-or-treating, it is perfectly safe to dress them up in costume. Do consider picking costumes that can incorporate a safe Halloween face mask. Experts say the masks that come with some Halloween costumes are too thin to be effective in protecting against COVID-19.

To be on the safe side, go ahead and don a proper, non-costume face mask, even if it doesn’t go with your Halloween outfit. It’s highly likely you won’t be the only one doing so. If you plan to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, consider sitting outside with a safe Halloween face mask in place so people don’t ring your bell or linger in a group outside.

Read more on coronavirus face coverings:

Sources: CDC, WBRC, Good Housekeeping, CTV News

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