TEWKSBURY — With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic still in full force across the United States, and as cases begin to rise in Massachusetts, questions arose regarding the status of local Halloween festivities this year. Recently, the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen decided to allow trick or treating to commence on Halloween.
Due to rising COVID cases, some surrounding communities, such as Lowell and Lawrence, have either prohibited door-to-door trick-or-treating or highly discouraged it as an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has not issued a state mandate for trick-or-treating, for he felt that cancelling the tradition may lead to increased indoor gatherings as a replacement.
“The reason we’re not canceling Halloween is that (celebrations) would have turned into thousands of indoor Halloween parties, which would be a heck of a lot worse for public safety than outdoor organized and supervised trick-or-treating,” Baker said during a press conference in Salem earlier this month. “I think our view on this is there are some very simple things people can do to manage their kids and themselves with respect to Halloween outdoors that most people would agree is much safer.”
The Tewksbury Board of Selectmen opted to leave the decision as to whether or not to participate in trick-or-treating up to town residents. They voted to set trick or treating hours to between 6 to 8 p.m., the same as in previous years. It was noted that CDC and state recommended social distancing and mask guidelines would remain in place.
On the town’s website, a graphic was posted noting that while a yard/driveway based “grab and go” trick-or-treating setup was considered a “moderate risk” activity, traditional “door knocking” trick-or-treating using a communal bowl of candy was considered “high risk.”
The graphic also provided examples of suggested “low risk” activities, such as pumpkin carving, virtual costume contests, and a household Halloween movie night. The full graphic, as well as the CDC recommended guidelines for Halloween celebration, can be viewed on the town website at: https://www.tewksbury-ma.gov/home/news/tewksbury-halloween-2020.