BIG RAPIDS — Superheroes, princesses, witches and ghosts will soon be spotted all through town for Halloween, and the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety wants to make sure everyone has a safe and fun holiday.
Officer William Sell said neither the city of Big Rapids or the state has prohibited trick-or-treating, but the state has issued some safety guidelines as it relates to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently in Big Rapids, several trunk-or-treat events are scheduled throughout town Oct. 31, including along Michigan Avenue downtown, at Betten Baker and at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.
Sell said an official time for trick-or-treating in the city has not been set. However, some nearby communities have set times for safe trick-or-treating. These include 4-7 p.m. in Barryton, 5-7 p.m. in Reed City, and 5-8 p.m. in Evart.
No matter where they are trick-or-treating, Sell said families are encouraged to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention such as avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters by setting up a station with individually packaged treats for kids to take, pass out treats outside, use hand sanitizer frequently and make a cloth face mask part of the costume.
In addition to these safety tips to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Sell said trick-or-treaters should also be cautious while walking around, especially as it gets dark outside.
He said most importantly, kids should make sure they are visible to drivers.
“Use light sticks or glow sticks or have reflective tape on your clothing if possible just to stay visible, and be very careful around cars,” Sell said.
The Michigan State Police suggest the following additional tips for making sure no one gets hurt while collecting sweet and sugary sweets:
• Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as close to the curb as possible.
• Look left, right and left again when crossing the street.
• Put electronic devices down. Keep your head up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
• Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape.
• Stay in familiar neighborhoods. Plan your route and share it with your family.
• Stay in a group.
• Only visit homes that have the porch light on.
• Stay in populated and well-lit areas. Do not cut through back alleys or fields.
• Be sure to follow any curfew rules.
Although many people may participate in traditional trick-or-treating, for families who are not comfortable with this activity, the CDC has suggested a few fun alternatives to celebrate Halloween, including:
• Decorate pumpkins with members of your household.
• Hide treats in your house and hold a “treat hunt.”
• Walk from house to house, admiring Halloween decorations from a distance.
• Hold an outdoor costume parade, so everyone can show off their costumes while maintaining distance.