Los Angeles bans Halloween trick-or-treating due to COVID-19 risk

Traditional Halloween activities like trick-or-treating, parties, festivals and haunted houses won’t be permitted throughout Los Angeles this fall due to the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19, health officials announced.

“Door to door trick or treating is not allowed because it can be very difficult to maintain proper social distancing on porches and at front doors especially in neighborhoods that are popular with trick or treaters,” the new guidance reads.

Also banned this year is so-called “trunk or treating,” where children get candy and other treats from cars instead of doorsteps, as well as gatherings or parties with non-household members and live entertainment like haunted house attractions, county officials said.

“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,” county health officials said in a statement.

To that end, those who wish to celebrate Halloween amid the pandemic with safer alternatives can host or attend online get-togethers, costume contests or pumpkin carving parties.

Revelers can also take part in drive-by costume contests with judges maintaining proper social distance, decorate their homes or yards or participate in drive-by events with treat bags – although any candy doled out should be commercially packaged, county health officials said.

Other options include Halloween movie nights at participating drive-in theaters and themed meals at outdoor restaurants, where health protocols of face masks and at least 6 feet of distance from others must be followed.

The longtime owner of a costume store on Hollywood Boulevard, meanwhile, said he believes people throughout Los Angeles can still celebrate the holiday safely.

“People decorate their house, backyard … and [on] Hollywood Boulevard, it’s always Halloween,” Ron Moazzez told CBS Los Angeles. “There doesn’t need to be a private party.”

One woman told the station she expects Halloween to be a day for people who have been confined by the pandemic to let loose.

“Just because people have been kind of stir crazy, pent up at home [with] not much to do, so I would think it would be big release of fun for everybody and hopefully that’s what it is,” Alison Isbell told CBS Los Angeles.

A total of 249,241 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed as of Tuesday in Los Angeles County, where 6,036 people have died from the virus, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Ninety-two percent of the victims who succumbed to COVID-19 had underlying health conditions, officials said.

“L.A. County is still among the California counties with high rates of community transmission,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “Before we get into cooler weather and flu season, we need to significantly lower the number of new cases. This is the only path forward that allows us to get more students back to school and reopen more business sectors.”

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