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The City of Madison has historically hosted a large Downtown Halloween celebration, called Freakfest, on the Saturday closest to Halloween. Given the current public health situation, Freakfest will be cancelled again this year.

“Cases of the Delta variant are still on the rise in our state and our county. As we work to keep residents in our community safe and healthy, it is common sense that there will be no City-sponsored Freakfest this year,” said Mayor Rhodes-Conway. “As I’ve said before, alcohol and COVID don’t mix well. I’m asking everyone to be responsible and safe if they celebrate Halloween or Homecoming that weekend.”

Public Health Madison & Dane County is strongly recommending that people follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines at any and all events. This includes: getting vaccinated, wearing a mask indoors, avoiding crowded spaces, maintaining physical distance, washing hands often, and avoiding direct contact with trick-or-treaters.

“As we have seen, the Delta variant is quick and efficient in spreading COVID-19. The most important thing you can do is to get vaccinated and to encourage the people around you to get vaccinated,” said Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County. “Layering other prevention strategies, like masking and distancing, on top of vaccination also helps limit disease spread.”

As of September 15 in Dane County, the 7-day case average was 106, up from 14 two months ago. The 7-day hospitalization average is 90, up from 24 two months ago. Currently, an emergency face covering order is in effect in Madison & Dane County. The order requires people to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. The CDC recommends that people wear masks in crowded outdoor spaces as well given the current high level of community spread.

For Trick or Treaters, Public Health highly recommends giving out treats outdoors, limiting contact with others, wearing a mask, and washing hands before handling treats.

To keep our youngest community members safe, Madison's Central Business Improvement District has also made the decision to cancel the Trick-or-Treat portion of Downtown Madison Family Halloween, historically held the last Wednesday of the month. Instead, the Downtown district will be sharing a variety of Halloween themed mini-events and activities within downtown businesses and partnership spread over the whole last week of October. Learn more at


Health & Safety