CAMPBELL, Calif. - For the first time in two years, children dressed in Halloween costumes will make their way through Bay Area neighborhoods. The trek-and-grab for candy are all part of the trick-or-treat tradition.
But the emergence of the delta variant is generating new concerns about the safety of some traditional Halloween activities.
"We have aligned with Santa Clara county and the state throughout this pandemic. So we follow those protocols," said Walter Magnuson, general manager of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose.
Each year, the theme venue puts on a Halloween attraction. Magnuson said many patrons feel comfortable enough with COVID precautions to take guided tours inside and outside the century-old mansion.
But there are questions and uneasiness when it comes to another staple of All Hallows Eve: trick-or-treating.
"There’s always a concern, but we don’t want to lose that tradition. So we’ll keep him close to the house," said Gustavo, the parent of a toddler who wanted his last name withheld.
Some parents shopping for costumes in Campbell said this year, the decision to participate in trick-or-treating is being pushed to the last minute.
"Usually we go to a cousins house. And around the neighborhood we go trick-or-treating. But COVID has been so up and down, so we're still a little weary of that. She’s not sure what she wants to do," said Tiffany, the parent of a 10-year-old girl.
Health experts advised would-be treat-or-treaters and their families follow CDC and local guidelines. In Santa Clara County, that means masking up if going inside..
Family medicine specialist Dr. Toni Moos said the risk of the annual candy prowl is lower than going to school.
"They’re not in a classroom setting, they’re outdoors. But anytime we can be cautious and reduce the transmission of COVID, is a time to take those cautions," said Dr. Moos. "I would still recommend that children wear masks over the age of two. And you still continue to socially distance."
Even with vaccines and masks, the fear associated with COVID continues to haunt young and old during this annual autumnal rite of passage.
Dr. Moos also suggests parents check their children's candy before they begin eating it.