Trick-or-treating guidelines look a bit different this year, depending on where you live

MADISON, Wis. — Trick-or-treating is still on for most areas surrounding Madison this year. Being in the midst of a pandemic, Public Health has released a set of guidelines for people to follow to ensure a safe Halloween.

Local police departments in various towns and cities have also alerted residents of their own guidelines.

Deforest Police Chief James Olson said he still wants kids in his community to enjoy Halloween this year.

“The whole experience is really important for kids today,” he said. “We all talk about being confined and cooped up because of COVID. I think this is going to be a really good opportunity for kids to get out.”

Olson said his department will deploy officers around the area to make sure everyone is abiding by public health guidelines and ensuring no mass gatherings are happening.

“If we see any mass gatherings starting, we will obviously be there to remind people about social distancing,” Olson said.

Olson said trick-or-treaters can be out from 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Halloween. The City of Fitchburg plans to have trick-or-treating take place from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. The City of Verona will have trick-or-treating from 5 p.m.- 8 p.m. The City of Stoughton will have trick-or-treating from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Even with public health precautions being enforced by many police departments, Dr. Jeff Pothof at UW Health still warns that the scariest part of Halloween could be contracting the virus.

“It’s really bringing a lot of people in close proximity to each other,” Pothof said. “If you’re in a house in a popular neighborhood, you could have 100-150 individuals knocking on your door, being in close contact and even if both are masked, we know that physical distancing and masking work together. It’s not just enough to do one or the other.”

Stoughton police released a statement about Halloween saying, “The City of Stoughton does not promote this event. The Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) encourage you to avoid traditional trick-or-treating from neighbor to neighbor. Participating in Halloween events could contribute to the spread of COVID-19.”