Boston Has Greenlight for Trick-or-Treating

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) released guidance on celebrating Halloween safely during the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, urging residents who choose to celebrate Halloween to take extra precautions to keep themselves and others safe. Health officials have advised that many traditional activities, such as trick-or-treating, costume parties or crowded, confined spaces like haunted houses, raise the risk of spreading viruses. 

“Halloween is one of the best nights, and what’s most important this year is that any person participating in activities does so in a way that is safe for not only themselves, but also their neighbors and community,” said Mayor Walsh. “We’re asking people to take the extra precautions that are necessary this year, including avoiding direct contact with trick-or-treaters, wearing masks at all times, washing hands before eating any treats, and avoiding attending or hosting gatherings.” 

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.

BPHC health officials encourage families to find safer, alternative or virtual ways to have fun this season. The safest celebrations involve people from your household, are outdoors, allow for social distancing and other safety measures. In addition, BPHC is urging adults not to participate in gatherings or parties on Halloween.

Halloween activities without risk:

• Carving or decorating pumpkins

• Decorating your home

• A virtual Halloween costume contest

• A family Halloween movie night

• A trick-or-treat scavenger hunt at home

• A Halloween neighborhood scavenger hunt from a distance

Halloween activities with risk:

• Traditional trick-or-treating

• Trunk-or-treat events

• Haunted houses

• Hayrides or tractor rides

• Fall festivals

• Halloween parties or celebrations

Any Halloween activities should comply with COVID-19 safety guidelines and participants should limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by following these safety tips:

The BPHC officials said to keep in mind, if any Halloween activities may lead to screaming, make sure everyone is wearing a face covering and staying more than six feet apart. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.

If residents may have COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, stay home and do not participate in in-person Halloween festivities. Residents who may have COVID-19, who are not feeling well, or have been exposed to the virus should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.

As a reminder, any Halloween activities are subject to the current gathering size limits set by the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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