“Be different this one Halloween,” said Caldwell during an afternoon news conference today in front of the Waikiki police substation. “Spend time with those you love the most and celebrate the holiday that way. I want to emphasize no gatherings more than five, and no house parties. Please, no house parties.”
Caldwell said he learned last weekend that there was a baby luau on Oahu attended by about 130 people who were gathered together, with no physical distancing. Police had to break it up. In addition, Caldwell said a Halloween party was held on the slopes of Punchbowl, in violation of rules.
“Please don’t do this, folks,” said Caldwell, recalling the surge in COVID-19 cases following the Fourth of July holidays, which eventually led to Oahu’s second shutdown order in August.
Caldwell said Halloween can still be fun and safe, and suggested watching a spooky movie at home, hosting a Zoom costume party or carving a pumpkin with your family and putting it out front. He said kids can go on a Halloween candy hunt inside their own homes or in their own yards.
Honolulu Police Department Chief Susan Ballard said on Halloween, there will be additional staffing islandwide to step up enforcement of the rules.
“I can guarantee there will be a heavy presence not only in Waikiki but around the island,” she said. “We just ask people to please follow the rules, so we can get through this together.”
The rules will be enforced equally, she said, among visitors and residents alike.
Caldwell earlier this week sent letters to the general managers of 47 hotels that are currently open on Oahu, requesting their cooperation in enforcing the current emergency order to ensure a safe and healthy Halloween this year. This afternoon, he said those managers responded right away, pledging their cooperation.
Caldwell said hotel managers are also keeping an eye on whether local residents are reserving Waikiki hotel rooms for Halloween parties. Anyone violating social gathering rules will get a knock on the door from the men and women in blue, he said.
Although groups of up to five people can go trick-or-treating house to house under the current order, Caldwell said he does not recommend it.
Traditional house-to-house trick-or-treating, where treats are personally handed out to children or offered via a shared bucket, is not recommended by the state Department of Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which earlier this month urged people to choose safer alternatives.
“It may be permitted but it’s not safe,” he said. “As mayor I’m asking families moms and dads, significant others, single parents, do not encourage your children to trick-or-treat door to door whether it’s groups of five or less. It’s just not safe this year.”
Caldwell said if people follow the rules on Halloween, he is hoping Oahu can get to Tier 3 of Honolulu’s reopening framework by Thanksgiving, which would allow for social gatherings of up to 10.
Caldwell was joined at the conference by Ballard, Chief Administrative Officer of the Hawaii Tourism Authority Keith Regan and Jerry Dolak, President of the Hawaii Hotel Visitor Industry Security Association.
Watch the briefing via the video above, or go to Mayor Caldwell’s Facebook page.