SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Last month, Gov. Phil Murphy stated that trick or treating may take place in New Jersey and on Oct. 5, the state issued guidelines to ensure the safety of all those participating. 

At a South Plainfield Borough Council meeting that same evening, Mayor Matthew Anesh announced that trick or treating will be allowed to take place in the borough as well.

"This is a special year, but at this point, we will have trick or treating in the Borough of South Plainfield…" said Anesh, reinstating through a proclamation the rules for both Halloween – Saturday, Oct. 31 - and Mischief Night - Friday, Oct. 30 – in the municipality. 

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The night before Halloween, according to Anesh, has traditionally been a night when childish pranks are played. These pranks, said the mayor, can lead to physical harm for others and damage to automobiles and private property. As a result, all minor residents are required to adhere to a 7 p.m, curfew on Oct. 30. 

Anesh proclaimed Halloween as 'Trick or Treat Day' in the borough with children allowed to go door-to-door between the hours of noon and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31 and accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult. The mayor also reminded residents to be cautious of items children receive and recommended that parental supervision be extended to ensure children do not consume any treats that have not been closely examined. 

"Parents or adults supervising children while trick or treating should follow the rule, 'if in doubt - throw it out,'" states the proclamation. 

As in previous years, anyone wishing to participate in the tradition of trick or treat should also keep their porch or exterior light on to indicate their willingness to welcome trick or treaters and that 'youngsters only call on homes that are lighted.'

Additionally, in light of the current healthcare crisis, trick or treaters as well as those participating in the distribution of Halloween treats are asked to also adhere to state guidelines announced on Monday. They include, but aren’t limited to distributing individually packaged 'grab and go' with no shared bowl; traveling in small groups made up of only family members; social distancing; and wearing masks while trick or treating and/or handing out candy (costume masks are not a replacement for cloth or disposable face coverings); and more posted online at (

"The governor has put some guidelines out there…We are not encouraging trick or treating, but we are also not taking the additional step and saying that you can't do it," said Anesh, adding that in terms of trick or treating, the borough is 'leaving it open for residents to make a decision on behalf of themselves and their children.' 

According to the mayor, the  decision to hand out candy is also up to the individual. He suggests those who fall in the high risk category not participate and recommends anyone who does not want to take part to let trick or treaters know by posting a sign on the door during the day time hours and shutting off their porch lights when it gets dark. 

"There are precautions you can take…and we encourage all our residents to follow the guidance in place," said Anesh, noting that, since the start of the pandemic, the municipality has been following the guidance from the CDC and the president's task force as well as what has come down from the federal government and the governor's office. 

The same, he said, would go for Halloween. "If the governor decides that something changes over the next 26 days or so and trick or treating is not going to be allowed we will update residents and will not participate," he said, "But, as long as the governor deems that there is a safe method to do it, we are going to give the residents the opportunity…"

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