It’s time to prepare your Halloween ensembles. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky encouraged Americans to get outside and relish the holiday.

“I would say put on those costumes, stay outside and enjoy your trick-or-treating,” Walensky said when asked on “Fox News Sunday” what she would say to children about the holiday coming up this weekend.

Walensky added that she “wouldn’t gather in large settings outside and do screaming like you are seeing in those football games, if you are unvaccinated — those kids that are unvaccinated.”

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“But if you are spread out doing your trick-or-treating, that should be very safe for your children,” she said.

Earlier this month, Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, also encouraged Halloween activities. “Particularly if you’re vaccinated, you can get out there. You’re outdoors for the most part,” he said in an Oct. 10 interview on CNN. “I mean, this is a time that children love.”

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FILE – In this Dec. 29, 2020, file photo a Chester County, Pa., Health Department worker fills a syringe with Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before administering it at the Chester County Government Services Center in West Chester, Pa. Moderna said Monday, Oct. 25, 2021 that a low dose of its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and appears to work in 6- to 11-year-olds. It is the second U.S. vaccine aimed at eventually being offered to children. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File) NYPS205 NYPS205
Moderna says its low-dose vaccine effective in kids ages 5 to 11

Walensky’s latest remarks come as families await a decision on coronavirus vaccine eligibility for 5- to 11-year-olds. The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine appears poised to become available for children in that age group in the coming weeks. A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee will meet Tuesday to discuss the data to inform the agency’s decision, which will then be examined by the CDC.

During Sunday’s interview, Walensky said she was “really hopeful that in that proper review we will get to a place where we have a vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds.”

If and when that happens, she noted many parents will be ready to get their children vaccinated right away, while others may need convincing.

“We have to do all of that hard work again — education, communication — so that we can get parents comfortable with getting their children vaccinated, where so many parents are already,” she said.

The CDC leader also talked about the rest of the upcoming holiday season, acknowledging that it’s “critically important that we gather, that we be together with our family and friends during these holidays,” and urging “prevention strategies” that will make gatherings safer.

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“So, what I would say is get yourself vaccinated before you gather,” Walensky said. “It’ll absolutely be safer if you’re vaccinated. Any activity that is outdoors is safer than it is if it’s indoors. And if you’re gathering multiple households, make sure as many people are vaccinated as possible, so you can protect the people who are vulnerable, who might not yet be vaccinated — our young children, our elderly.”

In the United States, more than 57% of the entire population is fully vaccinated, including nearly 69% of people 18 and older, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. In the past week, new daily reported coronavirus cases dropped more than 12%, and COVID-19-related hospitalizations decreased 8%.

“I’m encouraged by numbers coming down right now,” Walensky said Sunday. “But I have learned that we can’t be complacent and that we need to be humble, and that the virus tends to find places that are under vaccinated. So as our case numbers come down, we need to continue to do the hard work of getting more and more people vaccinated.”

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(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

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