Fact Check

New Jersey Bans Halloween Trick-or-Treating Over Ebola Fears

Did Gov. Chris Christie cancel Halloween in New Jersey over Ebola fears?

Published Oct. 28, 2014


Claim:   Gov. Chris Christie has canceled Halloween trick-or-treating in New Jersey over Ebola fears.


Examples:   [Collected via e-mail, October 2014]

It was said that Governor Christie banned trick or treating because of ebola scare. Is this true?


Origins:   On 28 October 2014, The Daily Currant published an article titled "New Jersey Bans Halloween Trick-or-Treating Over Ebola Fears." Due to a combination of ambient concerns over Ebola, a then-recent controversy over Christie's aggressive attempts to impose quarantine requirements on travelers, and a loose rescheduling of Halloween activities back in 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy, the claim sounded plausible to readers and gained traction online.

According to the article, the "so called 'Halloween Quarantine' will be in effect on October 31st from 4:00pm to 2:00am" and "children who violate the curfew orders will be arrested and their parents will face finds [sic] of up to $1,000." Citing a non-existent interview with Christie in the New York Times, the Daily Currant reported:

"It would be silly for us to pretend Ebola is not a huge threat to New Jerseyans. We are smarter than that. Hence, the Halloween Quarantine," Christie told the New York Times. "This has been a very hard decision. Trust me, the holiday when strangers hand you candy for free is near and dear to my heart.

"But I'm running for president in 2016, and I need to put political distance between myself and Barack Obama in order to win over Republican primary voters. Does this make medical sense? No. Does this unfairly punish children? Yes. But let's look at what's really important here — my political career."

The article referred to comments purportedly made by Christie at a press conference:

In a press conference Gov. Christie responded to concerns with his trademark bluntness, "Look I have the right to quarantine anyone I want at any time I want. The kids can trick or treat next year. That's if Ebola doesn't take them out first."

While Christie has postponed Halloween for safety reasons in the past, the "Halloween quarantine" article is just another leg-pull from the fake news site The Daily Currant. That site's About entry is clear about The Daily Currant's facetious nature; previous fictional articles from it include pieces about dozens of Coloradans dying of marijuana overdoses shortly after recreational use of cannabis was legalized in that state and Sarah Palin's claiming Jesus celebrated Easter.

Last updated:   28 October 2014