Published: Oct. 26, 2020

Halloween can be an exciting (and scary) time of the year! Here are seven things to know for Halloween weekend.

candy corn in mug1: Fire bans

As wildfires continue to spread across Colorado and Boulder County, it is important to understand and follow fire bans.

Fireworks: The possession or discharge of fireworks, firecrackers or skyrockets is prohibited in the city of Boulder and Boulder County. This includes but is not limited to sparklers, snaps, bottle rockets, roman candles and smoke bombs. Violations of law are enforced under the CU Student Code of Conduct and can result in sanctions such as probation, fines or educational courses. Fireworks not only pose a significant fire risk, but they also can cause a significant noise disruption to residential areas. Even if you don’t possess or discharge fireworks, you may be held responsible for roommates’ or guests’ violations of this ordinance. 

Campfires and smoking: Fall in Colorado is a high-risk time for wildfires. Pay close attention to fire restrictions and bans (including bans on smoking cigarettes and marijuana) which are in place in the Boulder area and throughout the state. 

Visit and for the latest information on Boulder County and city of Boulder trail closures.

2: Limit group gatherings

Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) recently announced revisions to the public health order for 18-to-22-year-olds in the city of Boulder. People in this age group are now permitted to join gatherings of up to 10 people. 

While restrictions have loosened, students are encouraged to keep their groups as small as possible. Celebrate Halloween with a small group of friends you know and people you care about. Avoiding large parties and gatherings will help us keep our community safe and avoid more restrictive measures in the coming weeks. 

COVID-19 cases tend to go up after holidays and other major events. This may impact your fall break travel plans at the end of November. Keep safety measures in mind when making Halloween plans and encourage your fellow Buffs to exercise caution over the holiday weekend.

3: Noise ordinances

You can receive an unreasonable noise citation for any noise, music or conversation that can be heard more than 100 feet away from your residence after 11 p.m. This city of Boulder ordinance is similar to "quiet hours" in our residence halls.

“Disruption of quiet enjoyment of the home” is a unique ordinance, in that it requires a previous warning to have been given to your house or unit. It is important to make sure you are speaking with your roommates and keeping everyone in the loop if a warning is received. Many times a house will receive a formal warning, but one roommate does not share the info with the others. Just like in the residence halls with 24-hour courtesy hours, you can get a ticket at any time of the day for excessive and disruptive noise.

4: Costume selection

Be mindful about your costume choices. Cultural appropriation, the inappropriate use of ideas, symbols or stereotypes pertaining to another culture, is a common offense among Halloween costumes that are online, in stores or homemade. These types of costumes are offensive because they often reduce a culture to a caricature. While certain groups can take off their costumes at the end of the night, others live with these identities each day. 

Acknowledging and being mindful of cultural appropriation can help us create a more welcoming and inclusive community for all of our fellow Buffs. Culturally inappropriate costumes include but are not limited to, Native Americans, ninjas, geishas, gypsies and other stereotypes.

5: Safety tips

If you choose to use alcohol or other drugs, here are a few things you should know:

  • Drink with people you know and trust. Keep your group small and look out for each other.
  • Eat before drinking, and continue to eat food and drink water throughout the night.
  • Alternate drinks with water or other non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Set a limit before going out and stick to it.
  • Make a plan to get home safe. Identify where you will go at the end of the night and how you will get there (walking, public transportation, Uber/Lyft, etc.)
  • Drink at your own pace. Avoid trying to keep up with someone else.
  • Know how much is one serving of alcohol: 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, 5 ounces of wine and 12 ounces of beer.
  • Avoid mixing prescription drugs with alcohol. This is the most common cause of overdose.
  • Make a plan with friends before going out and stick to it. If plans need to change, talk about it together.
  • Know the signs of alcohol poisoning and how to put someone in the Recovery Position.

Sometimes drinking can lead to unintended consequences (like hooking up with your roommate or kissing your ex). Navigating sex can be complicated, especially if alcohol or other drugs are involved. Check out this article about drinking and sex.

6: Amnesty policy

Calling for help in an alcohol- or drug-related emergency means neither the person who calls for help nor the person who needs help will be subject to formal disciplinary sanctions by the university (i.e., probation, suspension, expulsion). This includes drug and alcohol violations as well as public health order violations.

To be covered by the Amnesty Policy, a student must:

  • Call for help (911 or university staff).
  • Stay with the intoxicated individual until help arrives, and put them into the recovery position if they are exhibiting signs of alcohol poisoning.
  • Cooperate with staff and emergency responders.

For more information about the Amnesty policy visit the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution's website or review the student code of conduct.

7: Look out for each other

Whether you decide to stay in Boulder or celebrate Halloween elsewhere, it’s important to prepare in advance and have a plan in place in case things do not go as expected. If you’re venturing out with others, find a space where you can go if things feel like they’re getting out of hand. Use the buddy system with one of your close friends. Be sure to keep an eye on one another and keep each other safe throughout the night. Never leave a friend or roommate alone with people you just met or don’t know well. It can also be helpful to have a plan or someone you can reach out to in case you need to leave a dangerous situation.