By Nicole Harris
We don’t know exactly what Halloween will look like this year, but we can count on COVID-19 safety measures still being in place. Think social distanced trick-or-treating, plenty of hand sanitizer, and all children aged two and older wearing face masks in public in accordance with current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Wondering if Halloween costume masks—whether it’s a cloth face covering or a plastic headpiece—can protect against COVID-19? The answer, according to experts, is no. “Masks that don’t meet stated criteria from the CDC are not appropriate face masks,” says Belinda Dao, M.D., a CHOC pediatrician.
“Protective masks should cover your child’s nose and mouth, be secure under their chin, and fit snugly against the sides of their face,” adds Marnie Granados, M.D., a CHOC pediatrician. Halloween costume masks are not meant to be protective, adds Sarah Fankhauser, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology and infectious disease expert at Oxford College of Emory University. Because of this, they can’t be guaranteed to filter out COVID-causing particles.
But what if your child refuses to leave the house without their Spiderman face covering or plastic Elsa mask? “I would recommend wearing a cloth mask under the Halloween mask, especially if the child will be in a crowded area,” advises Dr. Fankhauser. “Perhaps a fun alternative could be a special-design cloth mask that can complement the costume.”
Here are a few of Parents.com’s favorite Halloween face mask options for kids.