METHUEN, Mass. — Halloween is all about the scares, but there's one fear that's no fun - the threat of EEE.
As it has been since the pesky mosquitos began to spread at the beginning of summer, parents have been exercising caution well into the fall.
To avoid the mosquito-borne virus as much as possible without dampening anyone's fun, the City of Methuen is now changing its trick or treating hours.
Currently, Methuen is considered at critical risk for EEE.
Methuen’s Mayor announced this afternoon that Halloween trick or treating hours will be on October 31, but only from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The mayor's office also noted that, by 4:30 p.m., most students are home from school and off their buses, so that minimizes any risks from buses on the road.
The 6:00 p.m. end time will ensure that activities are done before dusk to address any concerns about mosquito exposure.
Residents have mixed feelings about the decision, some saying they understand the change while others say they'll just go somewhere else.
"It’s understandable, I wouldn’t want my sister to catch it or me even to catch it," said John Allen, a Salem resident.
"If you have a curfew down here just go to Salem, Mass.," said Allen. "It’s like Mardi Gras over there for Halloween."
Mosquito experts say a long and hard freeze will wipe out mosquito populations for the year. Many parents are hoping that will happen before Halloween, also wiping out the threat of EEE.
The city didn't address whether such a freeze would affect the trick-or-treat timing, only saying it’s doing this out of an abundance of caution.
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