A message on Halloween safety from the Colonie Police Dept.

Please read the message below from the Colonie Police Department’s Chief of Police, Jonathan Teale:

The Colonie Police Department wants Halloween to be a safe day for everyone. Parents and children partaking in trick or treating and the residents in their homes have every reason to expect an uneventful and fun day. For decades, the Colonie Police Department has observed that certain neighborhoods attract large crowds, from all over the town and the surrounding area, that are not interested in the traditional spirit of the day, but rather congregate to socialize and often commit acts of mischief. These large crowds present a higher possibility of criminal activity and the very real danger of someone getting injured. The nature of the crowds and crowd mentality is hazardous to the residents of the neighborhood, the crowd themselves, and the police officers monitoring their activities. The consequences from even innocent events (ie. a resident driving home through the crowd) can be tragic under the situation presented by a large crowd on residential streets. During recent years, there has been an increase in parents facilitating these large crowds by driving their children to other neighborhoods in Colonie. Additionally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these gatherings are all the more risky. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has offered guidelines for your reference when making plans this Halloween. You can read those guidelines below.

We would ask all parents the following: When your children are asking to be dropped off in another neighborhood on Halloween, would you like the parents from those areas to be dropping their children off on your street? If not, then please enjoy Halloween at home with your children where you can guarantee their safety as well as the safety of others.

I would like to thank everyone for their efforts in recent years when, working together, we were successful in minimizing any incidents.

Jonathan M. Teale
Chief of Police

CDC Halloween Guidelines

If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween. See below.

Lower Risk Activities

  • 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 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.

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.

Higher Risk Activities

  • 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.

Recommendations When Celebrating Halloween

  • Do not host or participate in any in-person festivities if you or anyone in your household:
    • Has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has not met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others
    • Has symptoms of COVID-19, is waiting for COVID-19 test results
    • May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
    • Is at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities. If an outdoor event is not possible, avoid crowded, poorly ventilated and fully enclosed indoor spaces.
  • Social distance and limit close contact. Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items.
  • Wear masks. Do not use costume masks in place of cloth masks unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers your mouth and nose.
  • Wash hands and keep safe around food and drinks. Avoid self-serve food or drink options such as buffets or drink stations. Use grab and go meal options if available.