Halloween

Is Halloween Canceled? A Town-by-Town Guide to Trick-or-Treating in Mass.

While there are plenty of guidelines, there's no statewide mandate on how communities should handle All Hallows' Eve during the pandemic

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To trick-or-treat, or not to trick-or-treat?

That is the question many communities are asking after Gov. Charlie Baker decided against canceling Halloween outright in Massachusetts, saying a ban on trick-or-treating could encourage people to hold indoor costume parties and other risky activities during the coronavirus pandemic.

Halloween 2020 is primed to be markedly more concerning than in years past for parents, as they consider allowing their children to trick-or-treat under a full moon and the threat of catching COVID-19.

Some communities are opting out of trick-or-treating altogether, while others have instituted coronavirus-related restrictions in an attempt to keep people safe.

A few cities, like Leicester and Worcester, have banned the tradition entirely, while other communities, like Hatfield and Shrewsbury, have left the decision to parents.

Most cities and towns defer to the Halloween guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which outlines low, moderate and high-risk activities for the holiday, as well as the state's Halloween Guidance During COVID-19.

Dozens of municipalities in the Bay State have released plans and guidelines for Halloween and trick-or-treating. Here's what we know about their plans:

Amesbury

Trick-or-treating in Amesbury will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Households are encouraged to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, communal candy bowls and indoor parties are prohibited.

Andover

Andover's trick-or-treating will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Households are encouraged to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, communal candy bowls and indoor parties are prohibited.

Billerica

Town officials will decide on their Halloween policy two weeks beforehand.

Billerica has had 26 cases of coronavirus over the past 14 days, moving the town into the moderate risk category, per state guidelines. The town’s recommendations regarding Halloween will be "heavily influenced" by their risk designation as Oct. 31 approaches, officials said.

Brookline

Brookline public health officials issued guidance for Halloween.

Households are encouraged to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, communal candy bowls and indoor parties are prohibited.

Cambridge

Cambridge has canceled all city-sponsored Halloween events and will not issue any park permits or permits for street closures or block parties, in an effort to prevent large groups from gathering. Trick-or-treating is still allowed but residents are being urged to stay home and not hand out candy if they are sick, have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Chelmsford

Chelmsford trick-or-treat will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Households are encouraged to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, communal candy bowls and indoor parties are prohibited.

Georgetown

Georgetown trick-or-treat will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Households are encouraged to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, communal candy bowls and indoor parties are prohibited.

Groton

Gorton town officials voted to prohibit door-to-door trick-or-treating on Halloween, citing a recent uptick in coronavirus cases over the last 14 days. 

Hatfield

Hatfield officials have left the decision up to parents on how to approach Halloween, writing in a statement that they do not have "any real control," over the matter. Officials encouraged people to adhere to state coronavirus guidelines if they decide to trick-or-treat.

Haverhill

Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini said he was "reexamining what we can do on Halloween," after the city was designated as high-risk for coronavirus transmission by the state last week.

"Many of the area communities are having trick or treat and I had really hoped to do so," Fiorentini said. "We are going to have to come up with something else."

The town of Holden is asking people to maintain social distance, wear masks, wash hands and facilitate low-contact trick-or-treating.

Holden

Holden trick-or-treat will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Officials are encouraging people maintain a six foot distance from others, wear masks, wash hands before and after trick-or-treating and to stay home if experiencing symptoms. Residents who do not want trick-or-treaters to approach their homes can leave porch lights off or put up signage.

Hubbardston

Hubbardston's trick-or-treating will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Households are encouraged to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, communal candy bowls and indoor parties are prohibited.

Leicester

Trick-or-treating is canceled in Leicester.

Will kids be able to trick-or-treat this Halloween, and is it safe to do so?

North Adams

North Adams trick-or-treat will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Households are encouraged to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, communal candy bowls and indoor parties are prohibited.

North Attleboro

North Attleboro deferred to the guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Households are encouraged to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, communal candy bowls and indoor parties are prohibited.

Northbridge

Northbridge deferred to the guidelines from the state as well as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Households are encouraged to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, communal candy bowls and indoor parties are prohibited.

Orange

Orange trick-or-treat will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Officials are asking people to maintain social distance.

Pembroke

Pembroke deferred to the guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Households are encouraged to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, communal candy bowls and indoor parties are prohibited.

Pepperell

The Pepperell Selectboard is slated to decide on Halloween activities during their next meeting on Oct. 14.

Rowley

Rowley trick-or-treat will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Residents are encouraged to trick-or-treat in small groups, maintain social distance, find creative ways to distribute candy safely and avoid leaving a communal bowl out for children to reach into. Masks are also strongly encouraged as well as proper hygiene.

Rutland

Rowley trick-or-treat will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Rutland Police Department is asking residents to take "extra caution," by maintaining social distance and wearing face masks.

As Gov. Charlie Baker asked Massachusetts residents to avoid celebrating Halloween indoors, the city of Salem is putting new guidelines into place to ensure people celebrate safely.

Halloween in Salem During COVID

Though many of Salem's traditional Halloween festivitiesu00a0u003ca href=u0022https://www.nbcboston.com/news/coronavirus/salem-scales-back-annual-halloween-festivities/2171764/u0022u003ehave already been canceledu003c/au003eu00a0this year, people are still traveling to the Witch City to walk the streets, grab a bite to eat and trick or treat.

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Salisbury

Salisbury trick-or-treat will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Households are encouraged to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, communal candy bowls and indoor parties are prohibited.

Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury officials have left the decision up to parents on how to approach Halloween, writing in a statement that they do not regulate it.

Officials encouraged people to adhere to state coronavirus guidelines from the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if they decide to trick-or-treat. Households are encouraged to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, communal candy bowls and indoor parties are prohibited.

Springfield

Springfield officials have banned door-to-door trick or treating this year for Halloween. However, "certain COVID-19 safe events," are allowed, officials said, citing drive by, drive through, drive in and car parades as examples.

Stoughton

Stoughton officials said that Halloween is not a town-sanctioned event, and, therefore, not within their purview to cancel. The town's COVID-19 Commission is working to come up with creative ideas for safe participation.

Residents are encouraged to wear masks and maintain a six foot distance from others.

Upton

Upton officials deferred to the guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Households are encouraged to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, communal candy bowls and indoor parties are prohibited.

West Boylston

West Boylston trick-or-treat will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The West Boylston Police Department patrol throughout town to ensure safety. Households that choose not to participate should turn off exterior lights.

West Springfield

West Springfield deferred to the guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Households are encouraged to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, communal candy bowls and indoor parties are prohibited.

Westminster

Westminster trick-or-treat will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with a creative twist.

The Westminster Police and Fire Department will deliver candy to pre-registered elementary school aged residents and younger. The town will be separated into three precincts. Registered trick-or-treaters will be notified of which hour time block they will visit their respective neighborhoods. The deadline to register is Monday, Oct. 26.

Wilmington

Wilmington officials have canceled the Horribles Parade and banned any large gatherings. They have left the decision of whether to trick-or-treat at the discretion of each family. Officials ask that people maintain social distance, wear masks and sanitize before and after.

Worcester

Trick-or-treating is canceled in Worcester.

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