City of Pittsfield outlines Halloween plans

Berkshire County

PITTSFIELD, MA, (NEWS10) — The city of Pittsfield has announced it will not be hosting its annual Halloween parade this year in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19. Although they have stopped short of an outright ban, city officials are also urging people to avoid trick-or-treating and choose other, lower risk, activities instead.

Trunk-or-treat events, indoor costume parties, indoor haunted house events and travelling to rural fall events outside of your own community also make the “high risk” list.

“The gains we have made as a community are a reflection of our consistent and shared
commitment to keep ourselves and those around us safe. For this reason, we are strongly urging
residents not to participate in trick-or-treat. Despite the risks, we understand that there will be
residents and families who choose to participate in trick-or-treat.

For those who wish to carry on with this Halloween tradition, we are recommending a number of safety measures to minimize the risk to both themselves and to those around them.”

Mayor Linda Tyer

Residents who want to trick-or-treat may do so between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 31. Residents who don’t wish to be involved are instructed to turn out their porch light.

Lower risk activities are available. Both adults and children can win a cash prize by entering one of the city’s virtual halloween contests.

The categories are: pumpkin carving, costumes, and exterior home decoration. Entries can be submitted to the Pittsfield Parks and Recreation department until October 25.

The winners will be announced and featured on Pittsfield Parks and Recreation’s Facebook page on October 30.

Other low risk activities include:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
  • 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.

Moderate risk activities include:

  • Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart
  • Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart
  • Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than 6 feet apart; if screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
  • Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart. Again, if screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised

Higher risk activities are not recommended, and include:

  • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
  • Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
  • Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
  • Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19

In a statement, officials issued a reminder that a Halloween mask is not considered “COVID Compliant” and issued safety advice.

The safety tips are:

Other Recommendations for Trick-or-Treat Safety

  • Wash your hands before packaging single, grab-and-go candy packages.
  • Set up candy stations in a manner that makes grab-and-go easy, quick, and limits
    interactions with non-household members.
  • Do not use communal candy bowls and baskets.
  • Trick-or-Treat with members of your household only.
  • Please stay in your neighborhood.
  • Keep moving. Do not congregate on streets, sidewalks or driveways.
  • Wear a COVID-19 compliant face mask; be creative – decorate your COVID-19 compliant
    mask in a Halloween theme.
  • A Halloween costume mask is NOT COVID-19 protective and is not a substitute for a
    cloth mask over the nose and mouth.
  • Adults and children should NOT wear a COVID-19 mask and a Halloween costume mask
    together.
  • Please do not allow your child to bring Halloween candy to school.

The current plan is subject to Pittsfield remaining low-risk (green or gray) on the state’s COVID-19 Community Data Map.

For more information, please call the Berkshire County Health Department at 413-499-9411.

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