Following much speculation about how Halloween would move forward in Boston this year, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Tuesday that trick-or-treating would be permitted in the city on Saturday, Oct. 31, but he is urging residents to use extra precautions in celebrating the holiday to keep themselves and others safe.
“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,” Mayor Walsh said in a press release. “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 that Mayor Walsh offered for safe trick-or-treating include engaging in the activity with only immediate family members; avoiding direct contact with others while passing out candy; wearing a face-covering (besides a traditional Halloween mask); maintaining at least 6 feet distance from individuals who aren’t family members; and regularly using hand sanitizer when coming into contact with other individuals and objects.
Besides avoiding direct contact with trick-or-treaters, Mayor Walsh also advised washing your hands before handling treats, as well as setting up a “station” outdoors for the distribution of individually wrapped bags of treats.
In addition, the Boston Public Health Commission is advising residents “to find safer, alternative or virtual ways to have fun this season,” including carving or decorating pumpkins; decorating your home; participating in a virtual costume contest; and holding a trick-or-treat scavenger hunt at home.
The BPHC is also urging all residents to comply with existing public safety guidelines in all Halloween activities, and avoid large parties or gatherings, as well as crowded areas.
Rob Whitney, chair of the Beacon Hill Civic Association board of directors, said trick-or-treating in Louisburg Square, where residents traditionally go all out for the occasion, isn’t happening this year, and he encourages trick-or-treaters who do go out on Halloween in the neighborhood this year to adhere closely to the guidelines recommended by Mayor Walsh and the BPHC.
In keeping with safety precautions, his family has found a creative alternative to traditional trick-or-treating this year, Whitney said, where rather than going door to door throughout the neighborhood, they and five other families instead “will trick or tear each other.”
Meanwhile, Whitney urges would-be trick-or-treaters to instead celebrate Halloween safely at home with two Civic Association-sponsored events – Virtual Halloween on the Hill for Kids on Friday, Oct. 30, at 4:30 p.m., and Virtual Halloween on the Hill for Grown Ups on Oct. 30 at 5:30 p.m.
Visit bhcivic.org for more details and to register for both events.