SOMERVILLE, NJ - Downtown Somerville’s Halloween Spooktacular main event has been canceled for 2020 - however - a few select businesses will still be offering candy to trick-or-treaters and/ or hosting individual, small-scale events for you to enjoy on Halloween.

"While this means there will not be any major large-scale activities at Division Street or Borough Hall, we still invite our community members to dress up, stay safe, and enjoy Downtown Somerville with some self-guided Halloween activities," said Natalie Pineiro, DSA executive director.

The borough's Recreation Department is sponsoring two virtual contests:

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Fall/Spooky House Outdoor Decorating Contest - Looking for something fun and festive to do with your family? The Somerville Recreation Department is looking for residents to decorate their homes in a festive Fall or Spooky way! To enter, please email name and address to kgerndt@somervillenj.org Judging will be evening of Wednesday, Oct, 28 and winner will be announced on Halloween! Participants agree to allow their houses to be photographed and used on social media for contest purposes. Winner will receive bragging rights and a trophy!

Pumpkin Decorating Contest - Looking for something else to do with the family that's fun and creative? The Somerville Recreation Department is encouraging residents of all ages to submit photos of their masterpieces -- painted or carved pumpkins! To enter, please submit photos no later than Wednesday, Oct. 28 to kgerndt@somervillenj.org Work must be your own - please submit two photos per entry. One of just the pumpkin, and another one that includes the artist! Note: Only the pumpkins will be posted on our social media pages. Three winners will receive gift cards.

The New Jersey Department of Health has issued the following guidelines for trick-or-treaters going door-to-door and other Halloween activities::

  • Outdoor Door to Door Trick or Treating
    1. Those who plan to trick-or-treat should limit their groups to current household members, consider staying local, and limit the number of houses on their route. Social distancing should be practiced between all who are not in the same household.
    2. For those putting out treats:
        • Good option: Limit interaction or contact with trick-or-treaters, wear a mask when individuals come to the door, and regularly wash hands.
        • Better option: Leave a treat bowl on a porch or table or in a place where it may be easily accessed while adhering to social distancing requirements.
        • Best option: Arrange individually packaged candy so that trick or treaters can grab and go without accessing a shared bowl.
    3. Consider coordinating with neighbors to develop a system, such as signs or on/off porch lights, for distinguishing houses participating in trick-or-treating from those that do not wish to participate.
    4. Wear a face mask to mitigate against COVID-19 exposure. Costume masks are not an acceptable substitute but can be supplemented with a cloth or disposable mask. Children under two should not wear a cloth mask.
    5. Candy should be commercially packaged and non-perishable. Consider individual non-food “treats” to avoid sharing of food.
    6. Practice hand hygiene (wash hands or use hand sanitizer) before leaving your home, after touching objects such as wrapped candy, and when arriving home.
  • Outdoor Trunk or Treating (when children go car to car instead of house to house)
    1. Limit the number of participating cars to ensure adequate space for social distancing and minimize crowds. Ensure outdoor area has sufficient space per car to avoid overcrowding and to allow adequate space for social distancing.
    2. Follow the outdoor gatherings limitations in effect at the time.
    3. Design event in a long line, rather than a circle to ensure social and physical distancing to discourage crowding.
    4. Consider having assigned times or multiple shifts to minimize crowding during event.
    5. Wear a face mask. Costume masks are not an acceptable substitute but can be supplemented with a cloth or disposable mask. Children under two should not wear a cloth mask.
    6. Candy should be commercially packaged and non-perishable.
    7. Practice hand hygiene before the event, after touching objects such as wrapped candy, and after the event.
  • Halloween Parties
    1. Avoid large indoor or outdoor parties, which would be subject to the limitations currently in effect on indoor and outdoor gatherings.
    2. Keep up to date with the most current restrictions on outdoor and indoor gatherings.
    3. Avoid participation in activities that require close contact and/or shared items such as bobbing for apples
  • Haunted houses, hayrides, and corn mazes
    1. Wear a cloth or disposable mask while participating in these activities. As noted above, a costume mask does not suffice.
    2. Indoor haunted houses should be avoided because of the possibility of congregation and screaming in close quarters. If hosting a haunted house, ensure visitors maintain an appropriate distance by staggering start times and limiting occupancy. A better option would be to host an outdoor haunted house without live performers.
    3. Hayrides should limit the number of passengers per ride and keep openings to the same party. Any shared materials should be cleaned and sanitized after each use.
    4. Corn mazes should only permit individuals to proceed in one direction, should limit occupancy according to the applicable restrictions in effect at the time, and should avoid use of shared materials.
    5. Entities hosting these events are encouraged to take reservations and/or sell tickets in advance.
  • Examples of socially distant Halloween activities that would require minimal or no additional health and safety protocols include:
    1. Virtual activities such as online costume parties.
    2. Drive through events where individuals remain in their vehicles and drive through an area/neighborhood with Halloween displays.
    3. Carving pumpkins with family.
    4. Dressing up homes and yards with Halloween themed decorations.
    5. Halloween themed movie nights with family