Halloween is going to look a little different this year, since traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating is too risky (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against it). That doesn’t mean kids can’t dress up and have fun! C’mon, Halloween is on a Saturday this year and there will be a full moon. Mask up, spread out and don’t breathe on anyone outside your household.

You’ll have an easier time convincing the kids to cover their faces if their masks complete their costumes. Rock one of these face-mask-friendly looks, and have a safe Halloween, everyone!

Halloween activities


Cowboy: Remember when we were all wearing bandannas as makeshift masks? Easiest costume in the world — just add a checked shirt, a cowboy hat and you’re ready to round up the candy. Yee-haw!

Paul Grygiel, 5, dresses up like a doctor. (JiaYing Grygiel)

Doctor: Honor the essential workers who have been at the front lines of this pandemic. Doctors are real-life superheroes! You’ll need a medical-looking mask and a (toy) stethoscope, and maybe get your grown-up to make some joyful noise.

Joseph Grygiel, 9, used a plain mask and Crayola fabric markers to create his costume.  (JiaYing Grygiel)

DIY custom mask: Use a plain mask and Crayola fabric markers to draw your own fully customized design to match your costume. The sky’s the limit here! You’ll need an adult’s help to roll over the back with a hot iron, or toss it in the dryer on high heat to make your drawing colorfast.

Neck gaiters can be used for firefighter costumes, as shown by Paul Grygiel, 5.  (JiaYing Grygiel)

Firefighter: Firefighters have intense jobs, so their bunker gear is serious stuff: a helmet with a visor, turnout coats and pants, an air tank, thick boots, heavy gloves, a fire-resistant hood. All that protective equipment can easily weigh 50 pounds. Your junior firefighters can’t manage that much gear yet, but they can pull up a neck gaiter to cover their noses and mouths.

Malika Sasao, 5, goes ninja with a black face mask. (JiaYing Grygiel)

Ninja: Find your path. Become yourself. Put on a black face mask and bust out all your best ninja moves.

Good buys

Masks have come a long way since we were cutting up old T-shirts and looping hair elastic around our ears. Here are a few designs to complete your Halloween look:

Old Navy’s creature masks include a bear, worn by Paul Grygiel, 5. (JiaYing Grygiel)

Bear: Old Navy has by far the most affordable masks we’ve found, and super fun creature patterns. Designs include a rabbit, duck, shark and dinosaur. Add a hoodie and ears and you’re good to go! Of all the masks we tried, these fit my 5-year-old the best. ($9.50 for a three-pack, including a mesh laundry bag, oldnavy.com)

Etsy offers a color-changing Marauder’s Map mask for your Harry Potter costume. It starts out a dark gray and then reveals the map as you breathe on it. Pictured is Clark Takagi, 9. (Virginia Ann Dangerfield Takagi)

Harry Potter: A color-changing Marauder’s Map mask is the perfect face covering for the boy who lived. It starts out a dark gray, and the map reveals itself as you breathe on it. This Etsy find is a splurge, but it is so cool. Mischief managed! ($25.60, etsy.com/listing/848647107)

Malika Sasao, 5, is wearing a Disney character face mask for her Mickey Mouse costume.  (JiaYing Grygiel)

Mickey Mouse: Add a pair of ears, a black shirt and red shorts to this Disney character face mask, and you’ve got an instant Mickey Mouse. ($19.99 for a four-pack, shopdisney.com/face-masks)

Check out Crayola’s set of Halloween face masks, which includes a pumpkin. Pictured is Paul Grygiel, 5. (JiaYing Grygiel)

Pumpkin: Check out Crayola’s super spooky set of Halloween face masks. There’s a witch, a mummy, a vampire, a ghost, but our favorite is the gaptoothed jack-o’-lantern smile. These masks run small (get the teen/adult size if you’re on the fence), but we liked that the ear loops are adjustable. ($29.99 for a pack of five, includes mesh laundry bag, schoolmaskpack.com)

Cubcoats makes animal hoodies with matching face masks for an instant costume. Paul Grygiel, 5, picked the puppy.  (JiaYing Grygiel)

Puppy: Cubcoats makes the cutest animal hoodies that transform into a stuffie, with matching face masks for an instant costume. This isn’t a throwaway polyester costume; it’s an outfit you’ll actually be able to wear for the months to come. ($12.50 for a two-pack, cubcoats.com)