LAMBERTVILLE, NJ - It's still over a month away, but for the second time in the past 10 years, trick-or-treaters visiting Lambertville this Halloween will be encouraged to make alternative plans.

The city of Lambertville is recommending people not participate in door-to-door trick-or-treating during Halloween 2020.

Lambertville Police Department Lieutenant Robert Brown said, "We are encouraging residents not to celebrate Halloween in the same fashion as previous years in order to keep our residents safe and the transmission of this disease low. We have seen the transmission rate increase after gatherings are held, and it is my team's responsibility to make sure that Lambertville plays its part in preventing the spread of this virus.”

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Many municipalities did not hold Halloween festivities after Hurricane Sandy struck in late October 2012 after former Gov. Chris Christie delayed trick-or-treating that year. Gov. Phil Murphy has not yet issued any official protocols, but some local governments are having to deal with adapting once again.

In previous years, to accommodate the thousands of locals and visitors to the city nicknamed, “Halloweenville,” Lambertville has closed parts of North Union Street to car traffic. That will not be the case this year, but members of the city’s public safety team will be on call and available.

“The city understands that this is a really important cultural event,” Lambertville Mayor Julia Fahl said. “We’re working on partnering with Lambertville Public School and the PTA, as well as other stakeholders in the city, to ramp up the Halloween parade, which is specifically for local kids, as well as to address the potential other ways which we can feel connected.”

Fahl said the details on the student Halloween parade are still in the works with school officials. Some other discussions have involved potential porch decorating contests, or “porch hangs,” which have occurred in the past.

The city has not yet received any road closing permits from the Animal Alliance, which hosts the annual Pet Masquerade in October.

In a press release to be released to the public regarding Halloween, anyone outside on Oct. 31 will be expected to wear a mask, limit personal interactions and practice social distancing. Any homes that are supplying candy are asked to practice social distancing by leaving the candy out at least 6 feet away from the front door of the house.

Any residents who do not want people on their property should turn off their front lights, close the front door or place a sign directing people away from their houses. The city will be enforcing state guidelines for gathering, both indoors and outdoors.

The mayor stressed that this decision was made by a cohort that meets bi-weekly as part of a covid-19 safety call, which includes the clerk’s office, a member of city council, the construction office, public safety, department of public works and the mayor herself.

Fahl noted that there could potentially be changes to the governor’s executive orders regarding Halloween, and there's no guaranteeing how much will change in the next six weeks.

“This is another event that’s important to the fabric of our community that covid has stripped away from us,” she said. “But as it stands now, I think this is the best thing that we can do to ensure public safety.”