Will kids be able to go trick-or-treating in Ontario this Halloween?

A jack-o'-lantern dons a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will kids be allowed to go trick-or-treating this year? That is the question parents and kids hope to find out later this week at a news conference with Ontario’s top doctor.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore hinted that more information will be released about the October holiday season, including Thanksgiving and Halloween, on Thursday.

Last year, officials urged kids in certain COVID-19 hot spots to avoid trick-or-treating in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. This included the regions of Toronto, Peel, York, and Ottawa.

“We’re trying to make it as safe and simple as possible, my friends, we all know this isn’t going to be a regular Halloween,” Premier Doug Ford said at the time. “We just can’t have hundreds of kids showing up at your door if you live in a hotspot, especially in an apartment building.”

For families living outside of the COVID-19 hotspots, they were told to only go trick-or-treating outdoors with members of their household. Masks were to be worn by both trick-or-treaters and those handing out candy, officials said while adding that a costume mask does not count.

On the day this was announced, Ontario had logged 704 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day average was higher than it is now, standing at about 733 on Oct. 19, 2020.

On Oct. 4 2021, the seven-day average was about 586.

Moore also said that specific guidelines for Thanksgiving will be released on Thursday, hinting that the rules will be similar to those already in place for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

“In a nutshell, if you're having family over and you're completely vaccinated, if you feel comfortable removing your masks, that would be absolutely appropriate in a fully vaccinated group,” Moore said.

Current restrictions on gatherings remain in place. One hundred people are allowed to gather outdoors with physical distance while indoor gatherings are restricted to 25 people.

“I think those are reasonable and safe numbers," Moore said.

If the group contains a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, Moore suggested that masks be worn while indoors. He also suggested that guests self-screen for COVID-19 prior to attending a gathering.

“Every long weekend like this, especially Thanksgiving where it's a social event where we have families getting together, we want to minimize the spread. We want families to embrace the opportunity to get back together for their mental, physical, social well being and we'll have that list of recommendations available on our website soon and we'll announce it on Thursday as well.”

The guidelines are expected to be released at Moore’s weekly news conference on Thursday afternoon.