With Halloween approaching, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and the town of Durham are preparing for the holiday a little differently than normal. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) still infecting people each day, the town of Durham and UNH set protocols and reminders for students and residents to make sure they are staying safe this year.  

The town of Durham made an announcement on their Facebook page saying that trick-or-treating will be happening this year, and officials put out a flyer with many different precautions residents can take.  

“Those participating need to incorporate social distancing, mask wearing, and proper hand cleaning/ sanitizing,” said the town of Durham. With these rules in place, officials believe it could be a successful holiday. 

As UNH is located in Durham and Halloween being a popular party holiday for college students, this can raise concerns for people as the pandemic is still in play. 

“Instead of being out and being at large parties, which is highly discouraged, students can get into the holiday spirit by decorating their living space with creepy things and still get into costumes,” said Kenneth Holmes, Senior Vice Provost for Student Life and Dean of Students. He also shared ideas of decorating masks and having virtual Halloween contests.  

It is important for students to keep up with following social distancing measures during the Halloween weekend as the COVID-19 numbers have stayed low this semester.  

“Students can still celebrate without going to big parties or seeing a lot of people. If everyone stays in small groups and still follows all the rules, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be celebrated,” said Katie Potter, a junior at UNH.  

The CDC website offers ideas for people this year for Halloween celebrating, including decorating (low risk), putting on a costume (low/moderate risk), holding a Halloween movie night (moderate risk) or venturing to an outdoor haunted house (moderate risk). Holmes encourages students to look at these ideas and to take the precautions to avoid high risk activities.  

UNH tests students for COVID-19 twice a week and will continue this until the last day of in-person classes on Nov. 20 and move to remote classes starting Nov. 23. This testing has been essential as it minimizes spread throughout the campus.