October 06, 2020
New Jersey officials have recommended ways residents can mitigate the risk of spreading the coronavirus while celebrating Halloween, and the guidlines are very similar to what people should already be doing during the pandemic – opting for outdoor gatherings instead of indoor ones; wearing cloth or disposable masks; and practicing social distancing.
"You may wish to dress as a knucklehead this Halloween, but we don't want anyone to act like one," Gov. Phil Murphy said. "We know that in numerous communities, Halloween is more than just a fun activity, but a real tradition. We want to ensure that everyone has the chance to enjoy Halloween but we also want to ensure that everyone does that safely and responsibly."
The bottom line is kids do not have to forgo trick-or-treating this year, but state health officials do recommend limiting groups of trick-or-treaters to members of the same household, but if people from different households intermingle, it is important to social distance. Also it is advised that trick-or-treaters stay local and limit the number of houses on their Halloween routes.
And important to know: Costume masks are not an acceptable substitute for cloth or disposable masks.
Those who are handing out candy should wear masks and regularly wash their hands. It would be better, New Jersey officials said, to leave a bowl of candy on the home's porch, which children can access while social distancing, and the best option would be to prepare individually package goodie bags of candy that trick-or-treaters can grab and go.
No one should participate in any Halloween activities if they or a household member has been exposed to COVID-19, are symptomatic, or who has contracted the coronavirus but has not cleared quarantine yet.
Communities that organize outdoor trunk-or-treating events should limit the number of cars participating to ensure social distancing and smaller crowds. The event should operate via a long line rather than in a circle to ensure participants remain six feet apart, and it recommended that arrival times be staggered.
Large indoor or outdoor parties should be avoided, the state says. Activities that require close contact, like bobbing for apples, should not take place.
Indoor haunted houses should also be avoided due to the potential for overcrowding and yelling in close proximity. Anyone hosting a haunted house should keep visitors stay 6 feet apart by staggering start times and limiting capacities. An outdoor haunted house with live performers is preferred.
Places hosting hayrides or corn mazes are encouraged to take reservations and sell tickets in advance to avoid crowding. They also should disinfect high-touch surfaces often.
Read all of New Jersey's Halloween celebration recommendations below: