Is Halloween cancelled? What your patients need to know

Halloween is just a couple weeks away. You may be getting questions from your patients on how to celebrate Halloween safely during the pandemic. Not every town in Massachusetts has the same guidelines, and not all festivities are equally safe. Here’s what the state and the CDC recommend for Halloween 2020. 

Is Halloween cancelled due to COVID-19?

Governor Charlie Baker recently announced that Halloween would not be cancelled in Massachusetts. His reasoning is that indoor Halloween parties would be more dangerous than outdoor trick-or-treating. So it’s up to individual towns whether or not they want to ban trick-or-treating — like Leicester— or set curfews and time limits for these activities — like Andover. Some towns, like Cambridge, have yet to decide whether or not trick-or-treating will be allowed. NBC Boston has compiled a list of the most current Halloween cancellations and guidelines. 

Staying safe and having fun this Halloween

All COVID-19 safety guidelines remain in place for Halloween. This means keeping up social distancing, washing hands, using hand sanitizer frequently, wearing a mask, and staying at home if you’re experiencing symptoms.

Here are some additional Halloween-specific tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and CDC:

  • Celebrate outside, not inside. Avoid indoor activities like costume parties and haunted houses, where social distancing is much harder.
  • Do one-way trick-or-treating. Place candy on a platter (not in a bowl) and leave it outside for trick-or-treaters to take while keeping distance from others. You can also leave hand sanitizer next to the candy platter.
  • Wear a face mask or face covering. Costume masks don't offer enough protection. The Mask Up MA website offers tips on which masks help prevent the spread of coronavirus.  Avoid touching your face, even over your mask.
  • Observe good hygiene. Wash your hands before and after going out. Carry hand sanitizer while trick-or-treating, and use it before eating any candy.
  • Stay home if necessary. Stay home and don't hand out candy if: you feel unwell, have tested positive for COVID-19, have been exposed to the virus, or have been in a state that is not classified as low-risk.

Ways to celebrate Halloween 2020

Even with these guidelines in place, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy this Halloween:


You can decorate your yard for people to enjoy as they drive or walk past. Instead of going door-to-door, hold a virtual costume contest. Scary movies set a mood. Plan a movie night with your family in the house — or with friends outside. As an alternative to trick-or-treating, you can hide candy in your house (for family fun) or in the yard (for an activity with close friends). 
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