The Pullman Police Department is recommending people celebrate Halloween at home and engage in safety precautions to protect themselves against contracting COVID-19 if they decide to go trick-or-treating.
Individuals should find alternative activities for Halloween to keep themselves and others safe from COVID-19 exposure, said Pullman PD Chief Gary Jenkins.
“If there’s any time that we need to work on being safe and protecting each other, it’s right now,” he said.
Safer Halloween alternatives include virtual costume parties, movie marathons and pumpkin carving, according to a press release from Pullman PD.
Those who are planning to go trick-or-treating should practice safety precautions, Jenkins said.
Trick-or-treaters should wear cloth masks as part of their costumes. People should practice social distancing, avoid confined spaces and wash their hands frequently, according to the release. Those who are sick or have been recently exposed to COVID-19 are advised to stay home.
Troy Henderson, director of Whitman County Public Health, said trick-or-treaters should ensure they are visible at night by wearing reflective clothing, like a reflective vest.
Those who are planning to provide treats should turn their outdoor lights on, according to the release. Residents who do not want trick-or-treaters visiting their homes should turn their outdoor lights off.
Treats should be offered in individual bags and placed on the sidewalk or on a table so people can grab them safely, according to the release. To help maintain social distancing, 6-foot markers should be placed on sidewalks or walkways.
Jenkins said additional staff will be working during Halloween weekend to ensure individuals are not violating the nuisance party ordinance. The local ordinance prohibits individuals from hosting or allowing gatherings of more than 10 people on their property.
As of Oct. 19, Pullman PD has issued 29 infractions for ordinance violations, Jenkins said.
“We don’t want to be the party poopers,” he said, “but we also don’t want people to experience getting COVID-19 or spreading it to other members of the community or their loved ones.”
Officers will educate and warn trick-or-treaters who are not wearing masks or practicing social distancing, Jenkins said.
“We’re going to work with people to make sure they’re aware of the risks and encourage compliance,” he said.
Community members who would like to report a possible ordinance violation can call Pullman PD at (509) 334-0802. Jenkins said people can notify the dispatcher that they want to be non-disclosed so their identities are not revealed.
Other Halloween precautions and alternative activities are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.