RANDOLPH, NJ- Residents have been inquiring about recommendations for celebrating Halloween this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s challenging because parents want their children to experience the fun festivities typically associated with this time of year, but they also want to keep their families safe. Randolph Township is not “canceling” Halloween as some have asked, but rather is leaving it up to individuals to decide what is best for their own families. I thought it might be beneficial to summarize key advice from the CDC and other public health experts for those planning to participate in Halloween activities.

The CDC recognizes that some traditional Halloween activities can increase the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. For those who still plan to put out treats, the CDC recommends steps to take to make trick-or-treating safer, such as:

  • Avoiding direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
  • Giving out treats outdoors, if possible.
  • Setting up a station with individually bagged treats, rather than putting them in one container.
  • Washing hands before handling treats.
  • Wearing a mask.

Those who plan to trick-or-treat should limit their groups to their household members, stay local, and restrict the number of houses on their route. Trick-or-treaters over the age of 2 should wear a cloth face mask. A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. Wearing a cloth mask under a costume mask is not recommended since it could make breathing difficult. As always, everyone should stay at least 6 feet away from others not in their household and wash their hands frequently in order to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

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Experts also suggest alternatives to trick-or-treating such as celebrating Halloween by decorating your home, carving or decorating pumpkins with your family, visiting a pumpkin patch while adhering to social distancing guidelines, watching Halloween-themed movies at home, or holding an outdoor parade in neighborhoods so everyone can show off their costumes.

In Randolph, several activities have been planned to help make this Halloween season fun. While the annual Trunk or Treat event has been canceled, the Parks and Recreation Department, in partnership with the Mt. Freedom Fire Company, has planned two fun Halloween events in its place. For more information, please visit the township website.

  • A Riddle Run is underway until October 28. Residents are challenged to find all 16 of the decorated posts on the trail at Brundage Park. Once all letters are collected, participants should unscramble the riddle and bring their completed worksheet to the community center.
  • Randolph’s first ever virtual costume contest is underway for all children up to age 16. To participate in this contest, parents should submit a photo of their child in costume to rnewman@randolphnj.org. Submissions will be accepted via e-mail until October 26.

This fall, the Randolph Lions Club also sponsored a fun community building event and challenged residents, business owners, school clubs and town groups to build their own scarecrow. Perhaps you have seen several of them around town? The deadline for displaying scarecrows was October 10th and winners of the competition will be announced very soon.

Please stay safe while enjoying Halloween.