SHREWSBURY — Chief James Vuona and the Shrewsbury Fire Department wish to provide important safety tips and guidance for reducing the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread this Halloween.
The Town of Shrewsbury does not regulate trick-or-treating hours, and advises households to participate at their own discretion. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention generally discourages traditional trick-or-treating this year in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Should residents choose to partake in trick-or-treating, they are encouraged to make individually wrapped goodie bags that can be placed at the end of a driveway or the edge of their yard for families to take. Those who do not wish to participate in Trick-or-Treat are asked to shut off their outdoors lights as an indicator. Residents are also encouraged to explore other options to celebrate Halloween other than trick-or-treating, which better promote social distancing.
All residents are advised to take the following precautions from the Department of Public Health if they choose to trick-or-treat this year:
- Wear a face mask or face covering. For more information on face masks and face coverings, please see the state’s Mask Up MA webpage.
- Observe good hand hygiene, including hand washing and use of alcohol-based sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol. Carry hand sanitizer and use it often, especially after coming into contact with frequently touched surfaces and before eating candy.
- Refrain from touching your face.
- Stay home and refrain from Halloween activities, including handing out Halloween treats, if:
- you feel unwell;
- you have tested positive for COVID-19;
- you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19; or
- you have traveled to or from a state that is not classified as lower risk within the last 14 days. For more information on lower risk states, please see the state’s COVID-19 Travel Order webpage.
- Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet of physical distance from all other participants who are not members of the same household.
Additionally, the Shrewsbury Fire Department would like to share the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists of several low and moderate risk alternative activities that community members can take part in for Halloween.
This includes lower risk alternatives such as carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them, or at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends; having a virtual Halloween costume contest or a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart; or having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart.
Children who do go trick-or-treating should:
- Only approach well-lit houses and always travel in small groups
- Wear clothing that is bright, reflective and flame retardant
- Use flashlights for guidance on sidewalks, walkways and when crossing the street
- Make sure masks have eye-holes large enough to see any tripping hazards or oncoming traffic, and mouth openings large enough to breathe easily
- Practice safe street-crossing by using crosswalks and walk signals
- Wear sturdy shoes and temperature appropriate clothing under costumes
Parents and guardians should:
- Supervise children under 12 years old
- Establish a designated curfew for older children
- Make sure children are wearing safe costumes that fit well and don’t drag on the ground
- Apply reflective tape to your child’s arms, legs and treat bags
- Assure costume accessories such as swords and other pointed objects are made with soft and safe materials
- Keep inside and outside lights on during trick-or-treat hours if they are welcoming trick-or-treaters
- Avoid placing lit candles and jack-o-lanterns on doorsteps and walkways where costumes could brush against them and cause burns or fire
- Only hand out candy that is packaged and wrapped
- Avoid handing out small toys that could cause choking or lead poisoning for small children
Additionally, residents are encouraged to avoid higher risks activities, such as indoor haunted houses or costume parties; hayrides or tractor rides with those outside of your household; or having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots.
More information and holiday safety tips from the CDC can be found here.