The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health created Halloween 2020 guidance on Saturday that effectively banned the holiday as Americans have celebrated it for decades before subsequently releasing a follow-up that walked back some of the more extreme portions of the guidelines.
“As fall approaches, families start to plan for the upcoming holiday season beginning with Halloween. Since some of the traditional ways in which this holiday is celebrated does not allow you to minimize contact with non-household members, it is important to plan early and identify safer alternatives,” said the department in guidance. “The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health would like to share information on how to take part in this holiday in a manner that reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19. Since some of the traditional ways in which this holiday is celebrated are not permitted this year, consider some safer alternatives that are listed below.”
Under the new guidelines, Los Angeles kids looking to celebrate Halloween — which falls on a Saturday instead of the usual school-night — will be forced to forgo costume parties, carnivals, haunted houses, and other live events, even if they are hosted outdoors.
In the original September 5 guidance, trick-or-treating and trunk-or-treating were prohibited. However, new guidelines released on Wednesday afternoon have since moved those two activities into a new “not recommended” category, which wasn’t in the previous guidelines.
“Door to door trick or treating is not recommended because it can be very difficult to maintain proper social distancing on porches and at front doors, ensure that everyone answering or coming to the door is appropriately masked to prevent disease spread, and because sharing food is risky,” said the revised guidelines released on Wednesday. “’Trunk or treating’ where children go from car to car instead of door to door to receive treats is also not recommended, particularly when part of Halloween events, since it is difficult to avoid crowding and sharing food.”
According to data from The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles County has recorded 15,392 cases of coronavirus in the last two weeks and 426 deaths. As of 2019, there were about 10 million residents in the county.
The department of public health has suggested that in lieu of celebrating Halloween with Trick-or-Treating, children celebrate the holiday in a more pandemic-appropriate manner. Only one of these suggestions, however, includes receiving candy:
- Virtual costume parties or pumpkin-carving contests
- Drive-by car parades, drive-by costume contests (for kids or for cars), drive-by halloween displays, or drive-up events where treat-bags are handed out, but without Trick-or-Treating.
- Halloween-themed drive-in movie theater screenings
- Halloween-themed restaurant visits (restaurants in the city are currently closed to indoor dining, so the restaurant must be open for outdoor service) or Halloween themed out-door art installations
- Halloween-themed decorations for inside and outside of the home