By MADDY VITALE
The cancellation of Ocean City’s popular Halloween parade isn’t stopping the revelry of the holiday.
There will be two ways to celebrate, including frightfully fun trick-or-treating and a house decorating contest in the resort.
Michael Allegretto, aide to Mayor Jay Gillian, said that the city is thrilled that kids and their families will still get to enjoy the holiday, despite the cancellation of the popular Halloween parade due to COVID-19 safety precautions.
“The kids love trick-or-treating. Obviously, we are disappointed that the annual parade had to be canceled,” Allegretto said. “But there will be a Halloween house decorating contest and kids always love trick-or-treating.”
Gillian released the Halloween guidelines on Friday during his weekly Mayor’s Message, emphasizing that everyone must follow them for the safety of others.
The N.J. Department of Health issued guidance for a safe and healthy holiday. Trick-or-treating hours will be 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, Gillian said in his statement.
In addition, Gillian said, the city’s Community Services Department is working to “make free door hangers available to identify homes that will put out treats.”
The system, Gillian explained, will make it easier for trick-or-treaters to see what homes are participating.
For more information and for details on how to pick up your free door hanger or print one, visit www.ocnj.us/halloween.
This year, during a pandemic, it is vital for trick-or-treaters and families putting out treats to plan for a safe and healthy holiday, city officials said.
The city is sponsoring a house decorating contest to get the community into the Halloween spirit. Registration for the contest is open. Judges will award prizes for homes in each of the city’s four wards and for businesses. Deadline for registration is 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23.
A list of participants will be posted, so everybody can see the decorated homes.
The state Department of Health issued guidance for safe trick-or-treating as follows:
- Effective face coverings: Trick-or-treaters and families passing out treats should wear masks. Costume masks are not an acceptable substitute for cloth or disposable masks.
- Social distancing: Trick-or-treaters should limit their groups to household members and maintain social distancing between others.
- Be healthy: Nobody should participate in these activities if they have been exposed to COVID-19, are sick or symptomatic, or have not yet completed isolation after a COVID-19 diagnosis.
- Limit shared contact: Arrange individually packaged candy so that trick-or-treaters can grab and go outside without touching a shared bowl.
Other safety tips that can be followed include:
- Wear reflective clothing
- Young children should be accompanied by an adult
- Obey the pedestrian safety laws – It is dark and vehicle drivers may not see you
- Carry a flashlight
- Costumes should not restrict visibility
- Do not open any candy until you get home and your parents inspect the items
- Report any suspicious person or activity to the police immediately
For more information about signing up for the free door hanger or the Halloween House Decorating Contest, visit www.ocnj.us/halloween.