Published in the October 30, 2020 edition.

WAKEFIELD — Chief Steven A. Skory and the Wakefield Police Department would like to share health and safety tips for families relating to Halloween, courtesy the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

“We encourage residents to review the following guidance as they make their plans for celebrating Halloween amid COVID-19 this year,” Chief Skory said. “We want everyone to have a safe Halloween, so if families do choose to participate in trick-or-treating, please remember the usual safety tips, including ensuring young children are supervised, making sure costumes are safe and paired with weather-appropriate clothing, and carrying a flashlight so drivers can see you.”

Should residents 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 outdoor lights as an indicator.

Residents are asked to take the following precautions from the Department of Public Health, consistent with Halloween activity guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if they choose to trick-or-treat this year:

• Wear a face mask or face covering with your costume that is effective at limiting the spread of COVID-19, and make sure your mask covers both your nose and mouth. 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.

• Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet of physical distance from all other participants who are not members your household.

• Avoid large groups and do not allow children to gather closely together at doorsteps.

Additionally, the Wakefield Police Department would like to share the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of several low risk alternative activities that community members can take part in for Halloween.

Lower risk alternatives include:

• 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.

Residents are asked to avoid higher risk activities this Halloween in order to prevent the spread of the virus. These activities include:

• Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door-to-door

• Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots

• Attending crowded costume parties held indoors or any large indoor gatherings

• Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming

• Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors

Families participating in trick-or-treating should be mindful of the following additional safety tips:

• Fasten reflective tape on costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

• Hold a flashlight while walking to ensure that you are visible. Walk and don’t run from house to house. Look both ways before crossing the street.

• Practice safe street-crossing by using crosswalks and walk signals.

• All props should be soft, and no part of the costume should impair vision
or movement.

• Wear sturdy shoes and temperature appropriate clothing under costumes.

• Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before you eat them. Eat only factory-wrapped candy. Avoid eating homemade treats offered by strangers.

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.

The Wakefield Police Department wishes everyone a safe and happy Halloween!