Essex, Manchester modify Halloween hours

Courtesy photo/Reilly Zubricki and sister Lexi Zubricki of Gloucester carved a a mosquito into a pumpkin with the word trEET carved beneath it. "I thought it would be a relevant carving this year that would really scare some concerned parents," Reilly Zubricki said in an email. "It will be proudly displayed at my house Halloween night." Manchester changed its trick-or-treating hours as a threat of being bitten by a mosquito carrying the Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus still exists.

Weather forecasters are predicting rainy conditions for Halloween but trick-or-treaters in Gloucester, Rockport and Manchester will still be out and about Thursday, Oct. 31, going door to door, collecting candy in Cape Ann neighborhoods. 

Essex officials, concerned about the potential impacts of rain on the holiday, have moved trick-or-treating to Friday, Nov. 1 "Because of the impending storm and hazards, it will be Friday night," said police Chief Paul Francis. " Same time, same streets."

Rockport Elementary School leaders also took the forecast into account, postponing the school's annual costume parade, moving it to Friday.

Manchester has modified its usual trick-or-treat hours, not because of the forecast, but because there is still a threat of mosquito-borne illnesses. Here's when trick-or-treat and other Halloween activities will be happening, and some road closures drivers should be aware of.


There are no designated hours for trick-or-treat in Gloucester.

"We received several calls that we should change the day for Gloucester because of rain," Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken said on her Facebook page Monday. "My response was it’s not up to the mayor's office, unless there was hurricane weather."

The calls prompted Romeo Theken to run an impromptu survey Monday on Facebook in light of the forecast. It asked if the city should, "1. Cancel Halloween completely; 2. Cancel Halloween for this Thursday and make it Sunday afternoon from 1 to 4 only." On Monday evening, she said 65% of respondents said leave Halloween alone; 35% said hold trick-or-treating on Saturday or Sunday with no set hours.


"It’s up to the parents what they want to do," she said. "The survey was done just to see what people thought."


While there are no designated hours for trick-or-treat in Rockport, police ask that candy seekers stop ringing doorbells by 8:30 p.m. No streets will be closed.

Due to the forecast for heavy rain and wind on Thursday afternoon, Rockport Elementary School's annual Halloween parade has been moved to Friday, Nov. 1, at 1:15 p.m. School officials said because of the date change, student costumes will only be permitted on Friday. The police-escorted parade will go from the school at 24 Jerden’s Lane to the Den Mar Rehabilitation Center, 44 South St., and back.


Trick-or-treating in Essex will be Friday, Nov. 1, from 5 to 8 p.m. Winthrop, Maple and Pickering streets will be closed to through-traffic during this period for the safety of children going home to home, Chief Francis said.


Manchester's town Halloween Party will be held Thursday at Memorial Elementary School, 43 Lincoln St., from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The party will feature balloon creations by MO, face painters to make additions to children’s costumes, and pizza and drinks for all. All hobgoblins will receive a goodie bag with a glow stick before leaving the party. The party is a drop-in event.

Any residents may pass out trick-or-treat goodies outside the front doors of the Memorial School from 4:30 to 6 p.m. However, no candy with tree nuts, peanuts or peanut butter is allowed at the school site.


“Outdoor trick-or-treating in Manchester should be completed by 5:30 p.m. to reduce the risk of mosquito exposure,” according to the town Board of Health. Recommended trick-or-treating times are 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The Board of Health voted on those hours because there is still a risk of being bitten by a mosquito carrying Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) or the West Nile virus. There has been no hard frost (28 degrees or less for four hours) to kill the bugs.

"The changes, as recommended by the state’s Department of Public Health, are made with the goal of safety for all, children and adults, in mind," the town's Halloween Committee said in a post on the town website, "Please help us in allowing all to have fun, just in a limited time period."


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