HOBOKEN, NJ - Hoboken's Halloween celebrations are legendary, as throngs of kids from all over town take to the main thoroughfare for a traditional trick-or-treat parade. Unfortunately, due to COVID concerns, the annual Ragamuffin Parade has been canceled this year.

"Given the challenges of Halloween taking place during the pandemic, we are also taking precautions to keep residents as safe as possible and reducing scenarios where COVID-19 is more likely to spread," said Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla. "To that end, in consultation with the Hoboken Health Department, Hoboken Police Department, and Office of Emergency Management, we [are] canceling the Ragamuffin parade. Unfortunately, the parade—which is one of the most well-attended parades we have in Hoboken—is naturally likely to result in congregation, especially among our children."

While many kids are already wearing masks, the risks for such a dense congregation of people in one place have led to a number of other changes to Hoboken's Halloween traditions.

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Historically portions of uptown Hoboken have been blocked off to traffic for trick-or-treaters. This year, however, no street closures or block parties will be taking place on October 31. Given the fact that Halloween is on a Saturday this year, the challenges of enforcing the myriad of safety concerns are simply too great.

Furthermore, the City is strongly discouraging any type of indoor parties. For those hosting and attending large indoor parties—both adults and children—the Hoboken Health Department advises those individuals to quarantine for a full 14 days.

As for trick-or-treating, the City is allowing it, but asks that revelers use caution.

"For those children trick-or-treating, along with accompanying parents, we are making the following recommendations:

  • Wear a face mask, which can be incorporated into a costume or outfit
  • Trick-or-treat with family members or household contacts only
  • Trick-or-treat only in your local block or neighborhood–please avoid areas there that traditionally get crowded during Halloween if you do not live there
  • Wait for others to complete gathering candy at a door or stoop before asking for candy, to maintain appropriate social distancing
  • Coordinate with members of your block or building to host trick-or-treating during off-peak hours for children on the block, such as early in the morning on Saturday

If residents in households or apartments do not want to participate in handing out candy to children, which is completely understandable, we recommend shutting your lights off with a note on your gate or door."

Hoboken has seen 12 new cases appear over the last few days. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 786 residents have reported testing positive for COVID-19. According to the Hoboken Health Department, 740 residents have made a full recovery, with 31 fatalities.

Halloween is a massive community event in Hoboken, and the absence of the Ragamuffin Parade will be yet another disappointment for 2020. Efforts are being made to fill that void to some degree.

"I’m pleased to share that as a City, we will be hosting a Halloween-based drive-in Movies Under the Stars on Thursday, October 29, Friday, October 30, and Saturday, October 31. The times and movies to be shown will be announced in the near future," said Bhalla. "Additionally, we will be hosting a virtual costume contest for children, where photos of costumes can be submitted electronically, with winning costumes to be announced on or around Halloween on the City of Hoboken Facebook page."

Meanwhile, the HoBOOken 5K will be held virtually this year—an event that raises nearly $100,000 for the Hoboken Shelter. 

“During this challenging time, the Hoboken Shelter needs your help more than ever,” the race’s website says. 

Participants are encouraged to “get creative” in their participation this year, including by having friends, colleagues, and family members contribute based on every home workout, socially distanced walk or run, live-streamed class, or TV binge session they complete.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the HoBOOken 5K, and how to register.

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