Jefferson Township Mayor Eric Wilsusen released the following statement today regarding Halloween festivities:

Fall is officially upon us, and families soon will begin planning for the upcoming holiday season–beginning with Halloween. COVID-19 has presented us with many challenges, and some traditional ways in which this holiday is celebrated do not permit us to minimize contact with non-household members. For this reason, it is important to plan early and identify safe alternatives.

Governor Murphy announced recently that Halloween can proceed barring any major COVID spikes. There is no plan to cancel the activity in Jefferson Township at this time. If any resident prefers not to participate in distributing treats this year, simply turn off your porch light or do not answer the door. Responsible parents can make their own decision to participate in any trick-or-treating activities based on the following guidelines.

The Jefferson Township Health Department would like to share information on how to enjoy Halloween in a manner that reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19. Please consider some of the safer means of celebrating as detailed below.

Halloween Activities

Not Recommended

  • Halloween gatherings, events or parties with non-household members
  • Carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, and haunted house attractions
  • Sharing of food, whether prepackaged or otherwise
  • “Trunk or treat” events, where children go from car to car instead of door to door to receive treats, since it is difficult to avoid crowds and sharing of food at such gatherings

Recommended

  • Virtual parties and contests (i.e., online costume competitions or pumpkin carving)
  • Car parades that comply with Police Department and public health guidance for vehicle-based events, including:
    • Drive-by events or contests where individuals dress up or decorate their vehicles and drive by judges who are appropriately physically distanced
    • Drive-through events where individuals remain in their vehicles and drive through an area with Halloween displays
    • Drive-in events where individuals can receive a treat bag (limited to commercially packaged non-perishable treats) or another safe item from an organizer while participants remain in their vehicle
  • Halloween drive in movies (must comply with NJ Department of Health drive in movie theater guidance)
  • Halloween-themed meals at local restaurants (must comply with NJ Department of Health outdoor and indoor dining protocols)
  • Decorating homes and yards with Halloween themed decorations

Personal Protection

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate Halloween, please conduct the following safe practices:

  • Correctly wear a cloth face covering to prevent disease spread when outside your home and around non-family members (remember-a Halloween mask is not the same!)
  • Maintain a distance of six feet (6′) between you and other non-household members
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often
  • Clean frequently touched items regularly
  • If you are sick or have had contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19, or who has symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and away from others

Trick or Treating

 Guidelines for Trick or Treaters

  • If you are sick, stay home!
  • Trick or treat with household members only, and travel in as small a group as possible
  • Remain six feet {6′) away from anyone you don’t live with
  • Wear a face mask covering both your mouth and nose
  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing

Guidelines for Parents or Guardians

  • If you are sick, stay home!
  • Talk to your children about safety and social distancing guidelines
  • Advise young trick or treaters to stay on the right side of the road to maintain distance
  • Carry a flashlight at night and be sure children have reflective clothing
  • Wear a face mask covering both your mouth and nose
  • Wash your hands as soon as you return home
  • Make sure children are sanitizing their hands frequently throughout the day/nigh

Guidelines for Homeowners

  • If you are sick, close up shop and do not distribute candy!
  • Wear a face mask covering both your mouth and nose
  • Mark six foot (6′) lines on the walkway leading to your front door, to help small visitors maintain social distancing
  • Please a distribution table or barrier between yourself and trick or treaters to maintain six feet {6′) distance
  • Distribute candy on the disinfected table or through another method that eliminates direct contact with trick or treaters
  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently throughout the day/night

Other Trick or Treating Suggestions

  • Garage giveaway: Instead of distributing candy from your front door, set up shop in your driveway or garage to facilitate a more spacious setting for social distancing
  • Don’t share Halloween props, toys, costumes, or bowls
  • Establish ground rules, like advising children that they may not dig around a candy bowl – ask them to choose one piece of candy and stick with it

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