A COVID Halloween

From Lyme Police Chief, Shaun O’Keefe: The Lyme Safety Committee, consisting of the Chief of Police, Emergency Management Director, Lyme Health Officer, School Superintendent, Library Director, Fire Chief, FAST Squad representatives, and Town Office representative, met to discuss the Town’s role in the traditional celebration of Halloween’s Trick or Treat night (October 31st), in light of the ongoing pandemic and to support the continued health mitigations of the Town of Lyme. The Lyme Police and Fire Departments will NOT be supporting a Halloween event. The Library and the School will NOT be participating in any activity on Halloween night.

The Town Safety Committee in collaboration with Community Care (CCL) of Lyme, Lyme School PTO, Converse Free Library, and Recreation Commission will be putting together individual bags of treats for ALL students in the Lyme School System, whether your children are going to school or learning from home this year. The bags will be delivered to the schools on Friday 10/30 as our way of safely supporting “Trick or Treat”. CCL will be helping with volunteers to deliver bags to families who don’t have kids at Lyme School. Please let us – or any of the collaborating organizations – know if you’d like to help.

CDC Recommendations for Halloween and the Holidays 

With this direction, the town is providing the following guidance for your Halloween celebrations:

  • It is recommended that if you do not wish to have kids arrive at your homes, turn off outside lights.

  • If you want to participate in trick or treating, please bag your items in individual bags and find a method of delivery that is safe for everyone.

  • PLEASE use gloves and masks while putting your goodie bags together to eliminate as much contact as possible.

Here are some fun LOWER RISK activities you can enjoy:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends

  • 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 virtual Halloween costume contest

  • 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

These are some MODERATE RISK activities:

  • Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)

    • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.

  • 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

    • A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.

    • Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.

  • 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

    • If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.

    • Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.

Avoid these HIGHER RISK activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • 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.

We wish you a happy and safe Halloween!