The Groveland, Merrimac, West Newbury, Newburyport, and Amesbury Police Departments would like to share basic safety tips as Halloween approaches to help keep kids safe as they head out trick-or-treating and celebrate the holiday.
All five communities will hold trick-or-treating on Sunday, Oct. 31, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Police urge all families to protect themselves by taking precautions against COVID-19 this year, even as they head out to once again enjoy all the sweet and spooky fun that Halloween has to offer.
Picking a great costume is often the first step in Halloween preparation. Police encourage parents to consider these tips while shopping with kids:
- All costumes, wigs and accessories should be fire-resistant
- If children are allowed out after dark, fasten reflective tape to their costumes and bags, or give them a flashlight or glow sticks
- When buying Halloween makeup, make sure it is nontoxic and always test it in a small area first
- Remove all makeup before children go to bed to prevent skin and eye irritation
Trick-or-treating is a favorite activity of many children, but the National Safety Council says children are more than twice as likely to be struck by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. To help prevent such a tragedy and to protect your kids against COVID-19, encourage parents and kids to consider these tips before heading out:
- A responsible adult should accompany young children on the neighborhood rounds
- If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route acceptable to you
- Agree on a specific time children should return home
- Teach your children never to enter a stranger’s home or car
- Instruct children to travel only in familiar, well-lit areas and stick with their friends
- Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home
- Children and adults are reminded to put electronic devices down, keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street
- Wear a face mask or face covering
- Observe good hand hygiene, including hand washing and use of alcohol-based sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol. Carry hand sanitizer and use it often, especially after coming into contact with frequently touched surfaces and before eating candy
- Refrain from touching your face
- Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet of physical distance from all other participants who are not members of the same household
Halloween can be a dangerous night for both pedestrians and drivers, so police would like to offer these basic safety tips for drivers:
- Watch for children walking on roadways, medians, and curbs
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully
- At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing
- Discourage new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween
Anyone who feels unwell, has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or who has tested positive for COVID-19 should stay at home and refrain from Halloween activities.
Those who do not wish to participate in trick-or-treating are asked to shut off their outdoors lights as an indicator.
Handing out candy
If you will be handing out candy this year, recommend these tips to help stop the spread of COVID-19:
- Avoid providing candy via a shared bowl, and instead use small, individual bags for each trick-or-treater
- Wear a face covering while distributing candy to trick-or-treaters
- Practice good hygiene and ensure your hands have been washed before handing out candy
For those staying in:
Those who do not want to participate in trick-or-treating this year due to ongoing threats from COVID-19 may want to consider the following the activities that are considered lower risk:
- Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
- 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 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
The Amesbury, Newburyport, West Newbury, Merrimac, and Groveland Police Departments wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween!