As Lodi residents prepare to celebrate Halloween and Día de Muertos, the Lodi Police Department is encouraging the community to make this year’s festivities as safe as possible by planning lower-risk online, at-home and car-based activities.
To limit the spread of COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health has released safety guidelines strongly discouraging traditional trick-or-treating. Instead, health officials suggest families plan safer alternatives, such as a candy scavenger hunt at home, online pumpkin carving and costume contests, or car-based tours of Halloween displays.
“Unfortunately, Halloween is going to be celebrated a bit differently than it has in the past,” Lodi Police Sgt. Andre Belaski said. “While skipping traditional trick-or-treating and indoor celebrations is recommended, please be safe if you are out and mindful of others who may drive by to look at decorations.”
The health guidance also covers Día de Muertos, a Mexican tradition honoring the deceased. Día de Muertos celebrations often include gatherings of extended family.
This year, families are encouraged to place traditional altars, known as ofrendas, outside so others can view them from a safe distance, or to create virtual ofrendas online. Sacramento-based Sol Collective has teamed up with Listos California for one such virtual Día de Muertos celebration, at www.diadelosmuertosca.com.
Residents are also encouraged to check with local or county guidance on holiday celebrations.
Halloween is on Saturday, and the Lodi Police Department will have additional officers on patrol Saturday night to look for suspected impaired drivers.
Lodians who do go out on Halloween are urged to keep traffic safety in mind and designate a sober driver before going somewhere to drink.
The Lodi Police Department offers these tips for drivers and those who are out walking:
- The days are getting shorter. Be visible and carry a flashlight or reflective vest if you are out at dusk or at night so drivers can see you.
- Stick to familiar, well-lit routes.
- Only cross the street at crosswalks or corners where it is safe. Always look left, right, then left again before crossing.
- If you are doing car-based tours of decorations, be extra alert for other vehicles backing out of driveways or leaving parking spaces.
- Watch for pedestrians and yield to them at all crosswalks.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
News-Sentinel staff writer K. Cathey contributed to this report.