METHUEN — Chief Scott J. McNamara and the Methuen Police Department wish to share guidance and safety tips as Halloween approaches to help residents and trick-or-treaters celebrate safely this season.
Families are also urged to protect themselves by taking the appropriate precautions against COVID-19 this year as they head out to enjoy the sweet and spooky fun that Halloween has to offer.
The recommended trick-or-treating hours in Methuen are on Sunday, Oct. 31, from 5 to 7 p.m.
“I encourage Methuen families to follow these safety tips as we all work together to ensure the scariest things on Halloween night are the spooky costumes and haunted decorations,” said Mayor Neil Perry. “Please be safe, responsible, and most of all have a happy Halloween!”
Picking a great costume is an exciting part of Halloween preparation, and the Methuen Police Department encourages parents/guardians to consider these tips while choosing a costume:
- All costumes, wigs and accessories should be fire-resistant.
- Any props should be soft, and no part of the costume should impair vision
- Wear sturdy shoes and temperature appropriate clothing under costume.
- If children will be allowed out after dark, fasten reflective tape to their costumes and bags, or give them a flashlight or glow sticks to ensure they are visible to drivers.
- When buying Halloween makeup, make sure it is nontoxic and always test it on a small area of skin first.
- Remove all makeup before children go to bed to prevent skin and eye irritation.
According to the National Safety Council, children are more than twice as likely to be struck by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. To help prevent such a tragedy, parents and trick-or-treaters are urged to consider these tips before heading out:
- A responsible adult should accompany young children on the neighborhood rounds.
- If older children or teenagers are going out alone, plan and review a route that you feel is safe and acceptable for them to follow.
- Agree on a specific time older children and teenagers should return home.
- Teach your children never to enter a stranger’s home or car.
- Instruct children to travel only in familiar, well-lit areas and stick with their friends.
- Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home.
- Children and adults are reminded to put electronic devices down, keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street. Always look both ways before crossing the street.
- Families participating in trick-or-treating should be mindful of these additional safety tips regarding COVID-19:
- Wear a face mask or face covering.
- 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.
- Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet of physical distance from all other participants who are not members of the same household.
The Methuen Police Department would also like to offer safety tips for those who plan to be on the road during trick-or-treating hours:
- Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
- At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.
- Discourage new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween.
While many communities will once again hold trick-or-treating events this year, the Methuen Police Department still urges all residents to take precautions against COVID-19.
Anyone who feels unwell, has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or who has tested positive for COVID-19 should stay at home and refrain from Halloween activities.
Those who do not wish to participate in trick-or-treating are asked to shut off their outdoor lights as an indicator.
Handing out Treats
If you will be handing out candy this year, consider these tips to help stop the spread:
- Avoid providing candy via a shared bowl, and instead use small, individual bags for each trick-or-treater.
- Wear a face covering while distributing candy to trick or treaters.
- Practice good hygiene and ensure your hands have been washed before handing out candy.
For those staying in:
Those who do not want to participate in trick-or-treating activities this year due to the ongoing pandemic can instead consider these lower-risk alternatives:
- Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them, or at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends.
- Decorating your house, apartment, or living space.
- Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance.
- Having a virtual Halloween costume contest.
- Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with.
- Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house.
The Methuen Police Department wishes everyone a safe and happy Halloween!