LIVINGSTON, NJ — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect families throughout he country, the Township of Livingston was forced to “re-think the traditional Halloween celebrations” and urge residents to identify safer alternatives for celebrating the holiday.
The township has determined that trick-or-treating can occur on Saturday, Oct. 31, according to the parents’ discretion, although homeowners will be able to determine whether they want trick-or-treaters to approach their home.
Knowing that not all Livingston residents will feel comfortable with trick-or-treating this year, the township has designed signs for residents to place in their windows, doors and other visible areas to help trick-or-treaters know which homes are participating.
Non-Participating homes can download and print this Red Stop Sign "Sorry, No Treats this Year" (PDF) sign to display in a highly visible area.
Participating homes are invited to download and print this Green Light: "Trick-or-Treaters Welcome!" (PDF) sign and should also:
- Have the exterior of their home well lit;
- Wear a mask or face covering if they are handing out candy;
- Wash their hands frequently; and
- Disinfect high-touch surfaces outside their home (such as doorbells, doorknobs and buzzers).
Participating residents may also consider creating some physical distance from trick-or-treaters by using a table at the end of the driveway to hand out candy or another moderate-risk activity such as one-way trick-or-treating, where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to “grab and go.”
Those planning to prepare goodie bags are urged to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.
The Township of Livingston also acknowledges that there are several areas of town where large groups of individuals tend to congregate for Halloween trick-or-treating. Rather than driving to another part of town, the township urges residents stay in their home neighborhood.
Those trick-or-treating on Halloween Night should maintain social distance from others not in their family or small group; wear a cloth mask (and remember that a Halloween mask alone will not stop virus transmission); avoid touching their mouth, nose and eyes; and use hand sanitizer often.
Although participating parents and children may be healthy while trick-or-treating, residents are reminded that others may be infected with COVID-19, have underlying conditions or have someone in their home who is considered to be at high risk for contraction.
The Township of Livingston asks parents to be respectful of those houses not choosing to participate in trick-or-treating and to remind their children not to approach homes that are not clearly participating in Halloween festivities.
Even if the township’s downloadable sign is not visible at a particular home, trick-or-treaters are asked not to knock or ring the doorbell at any house that has its lights off, blinds closed, a barrier near the door or does not show clear signs of participating, such as having lights on or a door open.
All Halloween celebration recommendations are subject to health and safety guidelines according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH). Parents and Livingston’s trick-or-treaters should review the NJDOH Halloween Guidelines (PDF) and the CDC recommendations to be sure they understand the risks associated with various Halloween-related activities and proper precautions.
The NJDOH document provides guidelines, recommendations and reminders to help celebrate safely during COVID-19, while the CDC’s guidelines are more strict and include a list of activities ranked from lowest to highest risk, which can be found above.
Recommended lower-risk activities, according to the CDC, include the following:
- Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them.
- Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends.
- Decorating your house, apartment, or living space.
- Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house, admiring Halloween decorations at a distance.
- Having a virtual Halloween costume contest.
- Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with.
- Having a scavenger hunt-style Trick-or-Treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house.
- Having a small dinner with only people in your household.
- Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn't involve contact with others.
- Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family.
- Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday.
- Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home.
Anyone who has either tested positive for COVID-19, is showing symptoms of COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should not participate in any in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.
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