No City-Sponsored or Permitted Halloween Events Allowed in Somerville due to Pandemic

Residents Urged to Substitute Safer Activities for Higher-Risk Traditional Trick-or-Treating

Social distancing, face coverings, and hand washing remain vital to slowing the spread of COVID-19

SOMERVILLE, MA – As part of the City’s ongoing response to the
COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and the Somerville Board of Health announced Halloween guidance and related updates today. They strongly urge all community members to forgo trick-or-treating in favor of lower-risk activities as defined by the Centers for Disease Control such as at-home activities and holiday crafts.

All in-person City-sponsored and permitted events, such
as the annual Haunted Hall event or block parties, will also not be held or permitted. The limits on gatherings and all other pandemic safety orders in Somerville also apply to any planned private or commercial Halloween activities. As a reminder, gathering limits in Somerville remain lower than the State: no more than ten people may gather indoors or outdoors.

“We fully understand how difficult it has been for everyone,
and especially our children, to deal with a sustained state of emergency. But as we face a rise locally and statewide in COVID-19 cases with the arrival of colder weather, we cannot let our guard down now,” said Mayor Curtatone. “We are a creative and connected
community, and I hope each family, household, or bubble will choose safe but fun ways to celebrate this year at home that observe all health guidance. We really need everyone to do their part.”

Community members are encouraged to review CDC
suggestions for lower-risk Halloween activities and
MA
Department of Public Health recommendations and guidance. Due to the higher risk of virus transmission indoors and in groups,
parties are strongly discouraged, and as previously noted, gatherings of more than ten people are not allowed in Somerville.

“While celebrating holidays and observing traditions can provide
a boost to your mental health, it is critical that we all commit to doing so safely,” said Health and Human Services Director Doug Kress. “The safest option is always to only gather with those you live with. We strongly advise against trick-or-treating, but
if you do decide to go out, please follow CDC
guidelines for reducing COVID-19 risk such as wearing face coverings, maintaining a six-foot distance from others, and frequent
hand washing or sanitizing. Remember, it takes only one infected person to spread this disease among a group.”

Halloween masks don’t replace safety masks

The CDC also provides the following face covering guidance for
Halloween:
Do not use costume masks in place of cloth masks
Do not use a costume mask (such as for Halloween) as a substitute for a cloth mask unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers
your mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around your face.
Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed
cloth mask.

Alternate Halloween Activities: Howl-o-Ween, Spook-tacular Stroll
and more

To help support the holiday spirit, the Somerville Arts Council
and Library are offering some alternative safe activities and the City is also hosting a citywide Howl-o-Ween, inviting community members to don a face covering and then give their best Halloween growls, ghost boos, and woops (or to just politely holler out
their COVID-19 woes and frustrations) from their doors and windows at 6:30 p.m. on Halloween, Saturday, October 31.

The Arts Council is working on an online map of outdoor Halloween
decorations for a self-guided Somerville Spook-tacular Stroll. On Friday, October 30, and Saturday, October 31, pull up the map at
somervilleartscouncil.org/halloween and
take a walk around your neighborhood to see how many ghosts, goblins, and ghouls you can find. Help everyone join in the fun by posting photos with the hashtag #SomervilleSpooktacular.

The Arts Council is also compiling a list of virtual Halloween
happenings. If you’re planning to host a spooky virtual concert, show off your pumpkin carving skills online, or have a Halloween craft you’d like to teach others via the web, fill out the form on
somervilleartscouncil.org/halloween to
have your event included in the resource guide, which will be posted closer to Halloween.

The Somerville Parks and Recreation Department has planned a
week of Halloween activities for children participating in its afterschool program. Currently there are still open spots available on Monday, October 26; Tuesday, October 27; Thursday, October 29; and Friday, October 30. To register a child for the afterschool
program, visit somervillerec.com and
click on the “Programs” tab.

If you’re planning your own Halloween fun, the CDC considers
the following activities to be lower risk:
Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household
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 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

Again, the Board of Health strongly advises against trick-or-treating, and sharing links to safer
ways to do so does not condone the activity. For those who choose nonetheless to provide or seek treats, the
MA
Department of Public Health has provided guidance on alternatives such as one-way
trick-or-treating “with treats placed outside of the home for trick-or-treaters as a ‘grab and go’ while keeping distance from others.”

For more information and regular COVID-19 updates, visit
http://www.somervillema.gov/coronavirus and
sign up for City alerts at http://www.somervillema.gov/Alerts. We urge you to sign up for every alert method you are able to receive: phone call, text, email. Also follow FB.com/SomervilleCity and @SomervilleCity.

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