Halloween seems like a holiday made for COVID-19. After all, everyone is outside and wearing masks. However, experts warn that the average costume mask isn’t the same as a coronavirus face covering.

The Center for Disease Control says that popular costume masks like the Ghost Face or a rubber Donald Trump head aren’t the “protective masks” that can help contain the coronavirus.

“A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask,” the CDC said. “A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.”

Dr. William Miller, an epidemiology professor at Ohio State University, elaborated on the issues with wearing just a standard costume mask. “First, they often have a hole for the mouth and nose,” he told Mental Floss. “Second, they don't fit tightly. No one should consider a Halloween mask as adequate protection.”

So what about wearing your everyday face mask under a costume mask? The CDC says that also poses a problem.

“Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask,” they explained.

Parents can plan to match their kids’ costumes to their protective face masks. Party City offers reusable masks that go with plenty of costumes, including pumpkins, skulls, leopards, football players and tigers. Disney offers face masks for just about every major franchise they have (from Star Wars to Marvel to Pixar to “Frozen”), and a simple search on Google or Etsy for the name of a costume and face mask (such as “mermaid mask,” “race car mask” etc.) turns up plenty of results.

Make sure your trick-or-treaters keep their masks over their masks and nose while getting their candy. Also, consider using creative ways to give out candy to all the neighborhood kids, such as a candy chute or treat graveyard.

halloween face masks trick or treating A boy in Manila, Philippines, dons a mask at a 2014 Halloween Parade. In 2020, kids need different masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while trick-or-treating. Photo: Reuters