City of Milwaukee cancels trick-or-treating as Wisconsin’s coronavirus surge continues

October 22, 2020

The City of Milwaukee has canceled trick-or-treating this year as Wisconsin’s surge in coronavirus cases shows no sign of improving.

Milwaukee will not have designated trick-or-treat times like it has had in the past and the activity will not be sanctioned by the city’s Health Department since it is deemed high-risk during the coronavirus pandemic, city officials said.

Officials are also urging neighborhoods not to have their own door-to-door trick-or-treat activities.

“The City of Milwaukee Health Department does not support any trick-or-treating door-to-door, whether it be at any traditional time as we have known it to be in the past or any individual neighborhood times that we know happen sometimes the day before or the night of,” Interim Health Commissioner Marlaina Jackson said.

She said a lot of thought went into the decision to cancel trick-or-treat.

“Using our medical and scientific experts as our guidance and our true north of how we make decisions, we gave it a considerable amount of thought,” Jackson said.

She said that, like trick-or-treating, attending indoor parties with a lot of people who may or may not be wearing masks is also a high risk activity that should be avoided.

Jackson said, if at all possible, Halloween activities should take place outside and social distancing should be practiced.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he doesn’t anticipate police being involved in enforcing the city’s decision, saying it’s an issue of educating the public.

“We have not used law enforcement for any of the orders that we’ve used thus far. We think it’s an education issue more than anything else,” Barrett said. “So I don’t anticipate that we’re going to have police out there looking for trick-or-treaters. Having said that, we’re also not going to create a designated time for trick-or-treating as we have done in the past.”

Officials urged people to try other smaller, family- friendly activities for Halloween, such as having a movie night with others in their “social bubble.”

“We must reimagine many things including Halloween as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ald. Marina Dimitrijevic said in a statement.

For example, she encouraged people in her Bay View district to participate in this year’s socially-distanced Pumpkin Pavilion.

Milwaukee wasn’t the only municipality urging residents to reimagine the holiday. The Shorewood Village Board voted unanimously Monday, October 5 to not have village-sanctioned trick-or-treating this year.