Halloween Returns to the Streets of Fitchburg and Local Communities

Chris Gerhardt, Staff Writer

The time of year where masks become common approaches us once again. Well, a certain type of mask that is. These days people are all too used to seeing the masks everyone has had to wear as part of the Coronavirus pandemic, but not too long ago Fall was one of the few times of the year people were expected to be wearing masks. It was for a much different reason as well, a more jovial one at that. But with Halloween right around the corner once again and questions about COVID still hanging in the air there is the question of what the popular holiday will be like this year.

Last Fall, Halloween was a very different occurrence due to the ongoing pandemic. The City of Fitchburg had cancelled trick or treating as a result of cases surging at the time. Plenty of other cities followed suit, and those that didn’t instead put limitations on how things were handled at the time. Leominster residents were advised to maintain social distance even when handing out candy, leading to many creative systems for doing so. Whether the holiday was cancelled or limited to baskets left outside and shoots to send candy down, Halloween was a very different experience last year.

This year it seems like things might actually be getting back to normal. The city of Fitchburg has not cancelled trick or treating this year, and have scheduled it to be half an hour earlier in the day. Leominster has also scheduled its trick or treating as normal with no mentions of limitations or restrictions. Both cities also have a downtown trick or treat event planned before Halloween itself during the day, neither of which mention any type of mask save for the traditional costume one. So for these smaller gatherings it seems like things are indeed back to normal.

The same cannot be said for the more famous of Halloween locations however. Anyone planning on going to Salem for Halloween festivities, which started on Oct. 1, is in for an experience not unlike those had before the various COVID vaccines being released. The City of Salem released their own policies for people attending events, though stated that events may have their own additional requirements. Anyone going to a public indoor space will be required to wear a mask, and anyone attending an indoor event with more than one hundred other people will be required to show negative test results taken within three days of the event they are planning to attend. This is in place regardless of any vaccination status as well. Fortunately for anyone planning on heading to Salem themselves this year, the city is also offering free walk up COVID testing for anyone who wishes to ensure they are all clear.  

Given the state of the pandemic last year, which caused the cancellation of all Halloween events in the city, it’s no surprise that the people who run it don’t want to take any risks. Still for people with a great passion for all things spooky they are steadily getting back to normal.