Trick or treat? Massachusetts cities, towns release guidance, tips for a safe Halloween

BOSTON — Much like everything else in 2020, Halloween will surely look different this year.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said the state is not planning on banning trick-or-treating this year because they don’t want a spike in indoor Halloween parties.

Instead, the state has issued guidance for those wanting to participate in spooky festivities this Oct. 31.

>> Mass. DPH Halloween guidance

>> CDC Halloween guidance

Cities and towns across the Commonwealth are starting to issue their own rules regarding trick-or-treating:

Andover: Trick-or-treating on Halloween from 5-7 p.m. The town is asking residents who choose not to participate to turn off their outside lights and trick-or-treaters to only go to homes with lights on.

Boston: Trick-or-treating is not banned and Mayor Walsh released guidance on celebrating Halloween safely during the pandemic. Families are encouraged to find safer, alternatives, or virtual ways to have fun this season. Public health officials issued these tips for residents.

Tips for safe trick-or-treating:

  • Trick-or-treat only with immediate family members.
  • Avoid direct contact with individuals passing out candy.
  • Wash hands before handling treats.
  • Wear a mask. A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.
  • Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it after touching objects or other people.

Tips to safely prepare for trick-or-treaters:

  • Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
  • Wash hands before handling treats.
  • Set up a station outdoors with individually wrapped goodie bags for trick-or-treaters.
  • Wear a mask. A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.

Brockton: The mayor is urging residents not to host or attend indoor Halloween parties or outdoor “block parties.”

Cambridge: All city-sponsored Halloween events are canceled and permits for community-sponsored events in public places will not be issued.

Framingham: The city will not hold its annualSpooktacular Trick-or-Treating” event at City Hall and will instead host a drive-thru “Pumpkins in the Park” on Oct. 28. The Framingham Public Library is also hosting several virtual activities and events.

Lawrence: The city has canceled all of its public Halloween events and asks that families do not participate in door-to-door trick-or-treating, according to a release from Mayor Dan Rivera’s Office.

Leicester: The town announced trick-or-treating is canceled due to the virus in a Facebook post.

Lowell: In a tweet, the town announced door-to-door trick-or-treating will be prohibited this year due to COVID-19.

Methuen: In a tweet, the City of Methuen announced traditional trick-or-treating will not be taking place - instead, the city will be hosting a “drive-through” trick-or-treating event. The event will be for Methuen residents only and proof of residence will be required. You can find more information here.

Salem: The headquarters of Halloween will be scaling back this year. Haunted Happenings and programs will not take place this year. Road closures and fewer train arrivals will also be implemented.

Somerville: The city is urging residents not to trick-or-treat this year and has canceled all city-sponsored Halloween events. They are also discouraging indoor and outdoor gatherings and parties, reminding residents that gatherings of more than 10 people are not permitted in the city - lower than the statewide limit. The Somerville Arts Council and Library are hosting a citywide Howl-o-Ween on Oct. 31 where residents can "don a face covering and then give their best Halloween growls, ghost boos, and woops (or to just politely holler out their COVID-19 woes and frustrations) from their doors and windows, at 6:30 p.m.

Springfield: The city says trick-or-treating will not be permitted and is instead encouraging “drive-by, drive-through, drive-in, and/or car parade events” with proper social distancing and health protocols in place.

Worcester: The City of Worcester is prohibiting door-to-door trick-or-treating this year to curb the spread of coronavirus. The decision to ban the annual Halloween tradition was made because the city “remains at high risk for the transmission of COVID-19,” city officials said in a Facebook post.

Related stories:

>> Salem city leaders warn about COVID-19 restrictions as crowds increase in October

>> Three northern Mass. towns partner together on Halloween guidelines for families

>> CDC: Trick-or-treating is a high-risk activity