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Halloween in the COVID Era

Ordinarily, scary things on Halloween are confined to spooky movies, frightening costumes, and the possibility of tainted goodies, but this year COVID-19 presents additional concerns for trick-or-treaters and those giving out candy. Just as with other activities, precautions can be taken to make Halloween safe even amidst a global pandemic. So, as you deliberate whether your child will venture out on All-Hallows Eve or not, put safety first and consider alternative ways to celebrate the holiday.

  • Talk with your children about being safe on Halloween.
    • Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
    • Distribute treats outside.
    • Leave individually bagged treats for kids to take on your doorstep, front yard, or in your driveway.
    • Wear a mask and gloves – make these things part of your costume.
  • A costume mask is not a substitute for a face mask.
  • Learn more at Mask Up MA.
  • Engage in alternative activities with your family.
    • Decorate your home inside and out.
    • Carve pumpkins at home or virtually with friends.
    • Bake a pumpkin pie or roast pumpkin seeds.
    • Create an indoor or backyard scavenger hunt.
    • Hold an outdoor or virtual neighborhood costume parade, or contest.
    • Watch Halloween movies outdoors with family, friends, and/or neighbors – while socially distanced.
    • Produce your own scary movie or write a spooky story.

Governor Charlie Baker said a letter from a 9-year-old saying that Halloween should not be cancelled contributed to his decision to allow cities and towns in the Commonwealth to come up with their own plans. As a result, cities and towns across the Commonwealth have released recommendations for trick-or-treating, and other festive celebrations in their communities.

Some, like Cambridge, Springfield, and Worcester have banned door-to-door trick-or-treating. Others, like Brookline, have encouraged residents to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go. Chelsea is throwing an alternative trick-or-treat event for kids 3 to 10 event on Saturday in which social distancing will be enforced (registration is required). Salem will reduce parking, restrict public transportation, and limit business hours to discourage revelers from visiting their town.

A partial list of other Massachusetts municipalities imposing restrictions this Halloween include:

  • Trick-or-treating is banned: Cambridge, Groton, Leicester, Longmeadow, Springfield, Worcester.
  • Trick-or-treating is allowed during specified hours only: Amesbury, Andover, Chelmsford, Georgetown, Holden, Hubbardston, North Adams, Orange, Rowley, Rutland, Salisbury, West Boylston, Westminster.
  • CDC recommended safety guidelines will be enforced: Amesbury, Andover, Arlington, Chelmsford, Georgetown, Hubbardston, North Adams, North Attleboro, Northbridge, Pembroke, Salisbury, Shrewsbury, Tewksbury, Upton, West Springfield, Westminster.

 

Check your town or city website for specific policies in your community. And, remember all activities are subject to the current state gathering size limits as well as applicable sector-specific workplace safety standards. For more on this, visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also lists guidelines and suggestions for Halloween. Whatever you decide to do to celebrate Halloween this year, be safe!

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