City of Boston invites residents to use newly streamlined process to host Halloween block parties

BOSTON – Friday, October 6, 2023 – Today, Mayor Michelle Wu and the City of Boston’s Community Engagement Cabinet announced a new streamlined application process to make it easier for residents to host Halloween block parties to ensure that children and their families can safely trick or treat. By closing neighborhood side streets to vehicle traffic during trick or treating, community members can create a celebratory and safe environment for kids to enjoy the holiday. The Boston Transportation Department (BTD) has streamlined the play street application process to make it easier to host a block party and to ensure applications are considered and approved swiftly. Residents and community groups who are interested can apply to host a Halloween block party here.

“Block parties provide our neighbors and families fun, safe spaces to celebrate together and build community,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Making the permitting process to host a block party easier will help more communities and streets have the opportunity to celebrate Halloween all together as neighbors.”

“Activating our streets through block parties is a great way to spread joy and unify our neighborhoods throughout our city,” said Community Engagement Cabinet Chief Brianna Millor. “I encourage residents to take advantage of this opportunity to celebrate fall festivities outdoors in a safe and fun manner.”

In addition to a shorter timeline turnaround from submission to approval, the improved application now includes both clearer questions and fewer questions overall, focusing only on the necessary information for the Boston Transportation Department to evaluate each block party for community safety and traffic impacts.

“We are pleased to be rolling out this simplified application process so Boston families can worry less about navigating permitting and focus on enjoying the holiday,” said Deputy Chief of Streets for Transportation Nick Gove. “We look forward to supporting more block parties this year and continuing to make City Hall processes more accessible and efficient.”

Boston residents have long come together to hold Halloween block parties to strengthen community ties, and improve neighborhood street safety. Last year, residents hosted 28 halloween block parties across the City.

Residents must apply by Wednesday, October 18th to ensure approval before Halloween. Residents must also apply for a block party permit before submitting their grant application, as this can take 15 business days to approve. More information about applying for the block party permit and tips on how to host a block party can be found here.

This work also builds upon Mayor Wu’s commitment to bring safer, more vibrant streets to every neighborhood in Boston. In May, the Mayor announced Boston’s Safety Surge, working to make our city streets safer by installing speed humps on eligible neighborhood streets, redesigning intersections, and implementing new guidelines for the City’s traffic signals.

Earlier this year, the Community Engagement Cabinet awarded 51 block party mini grants for resident-led street parties throughout the summer.

“This summer’s Block Party Mini Grants proved to be a successful model to support residents in their efforts to curate events and purchase sports equipment, chalk, games, food, and beverages for community members to enjoy,” said Mayor’s Office of Civic Organizing Director Nathalia Benitez-Perez. “I think it is amazing that the City of Boston is working towards making the permitting process more accessible and seamless to support the festive community building that occurs in our streets through block parties.”


The Community Engagement cabinet leads the City of Boston’s work towards eliminating silos between Boston residents and City Hall. Their goal is to better connect neighborhood services, community engagement, and policy making. The Community Engagement Cabinet wants to improve how Boston includes community voices in its work. They are creating a new model for prioritizing constituents and neighborhood services in government affairs. The cabinet is made up of the Office of Neighborhood Services, the Office of Civic Organizing, SPARK Boston, and Boston 311. Their departments collaborate with City and community partners. By working together, we link policy, City services, and community engagement efforts across Boston.

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