Usually once October hits, those who love Halloween are decorating their houses, planning their costumes, pre-ordering their candy and celebrating the spooky season to its fullest extent.
This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic as the backdrop to everything in our lives now, it’s a little bit different.
Instead of wondering what the best costume to wear is, people are wondering if Halloween is even happening. Here’s everything you need to know about Halloween this year in Newburgh and New Windsor.
The City of Newburgh has created two new socially-distanced Halloween events. The first is a drive-in movie featuring “Coco” at the Ann Street Parking lot on October 29. The City has been hosting a number of drive-in movies since the summer in an effort to give the community a fun, COVID-safe event.
The movie will begin at 7 p.m. and instructions on audio features and rules on health safety will be announced before the film.
Face masks must be worn by everyone in attendance when not seated and walking through the lot. Cars can enter the parking lot from Ann Street and walk-ins are to enter from Washington Street.
The second event the City is offering is in partnership with the Newburgh Armory Unity Center and offers a contact-less drive-through “Spooktacular Treating.” From 12 to 2 p.m. on Halloween pre-made bags of candy and treats will be handed out at the Larkin Center, located at 321 S. William Street. Walk-ups are also welcome.
Costumes are encouraged at this Spooktacular Treating. Plus, beware of spooky surprises that may lurk when waiting for your bag of candy.
On Halloween, please remember that a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its own guidelines for Halloween, breaking up Halloween activities by lower, moderate and high risk.
Traditional trick-or-treating has been placed in the high risk category by the CDC. Also in this category are crowded costume parties held indoors, indoor haunted houses with crowds and screaming and traveling to a fall festival not in your community.
Moderate risk activities include one-way trick-or-treating, a small, outdoor socially distanced gathering, open-air haunted forests, visiting pumpkin patches and an outdoor Halloween movie night.
The lowest risk activities identified by the CDC include carving and decorating pumpkins with members of your household, doing a Halloween scavenger hunt, holding a virtual Halloween costume contest or having a Halloween movie night.
The CDC recommends that anyone who prepares goodie bags should wash their hands with soap and water beforehand.
Dr. Irina Gelman, Orange County Commissioner of Health, released a letter on behalf of the Department of Health regarding Halloween this year. Being that the CDC deemed traditional trick-or-treating a high risk activity, she said “The Orange County Department of Health DOES NOT recommend traditional trick-or-treating, parades, in-person gatherings, or the traditional trunk-or-treat festivities that are the usual Halloween fare.”
They extended this guidance for Día de los Muertos as well.
“COVID-19 cases are increasing in Orange County, Rockland County, and parts of New York City and therefore Orange County is recommending more restrictions than the rest of New York State,” the letter read.
For more information on any of the CDC’s guidelines, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween.
In addition to the extra precautions that need to be taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are also Halloween curfews for the City of Newburgh, Town of Newburgh and Town of New Windsor.
The Town of Newburgh’s Halloween curfew is from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. from Friday, October 30 to Saturday, October 31.
Town Supervisor Gil Piaquadio’s statement read, “The Town of Newburgh is concerned with the safety and welfare of our children along with protection of private property … I am requesting that parents inform their children and supervise the implementation of the Town wide curfew so that we may avoid problems and for the safety, health and welfare of our Town’s young people and property owners.”
The City of Newburgh’s Halloween curfew is longer than the town’s, being from October 30 at 9 p.m. until November 1 at 6 a.m. This curfew applies to those under the age of 16.
The Town of New Windsor’s curfew is the longest in the area being from 6 p.m. on Friday, October 30 to 6 a.m. Monday, November 2. It is for all minors under the age of 18.
“When Halloween falls on a Friday or Saturday we seem to have a lot more police activity,” said Town Supervisor George Meyers. “Hopefully it will be a quiet weekend.”
Regarding COVID-19, Meyers said “I’m not canceling Halloween. It’s up to the parents if they want to take their child out trick-or-treating. If somebody doesn’t want to open their door, that’s up to them.”