As with most holidays this year, Halloween is also going to look a little different in 2020. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to be a concern across the country, Los Angeles County has urged against trick-or-treating on Halloween this year to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has essentially called off trick-or-treating and trunk-or-treating because of possible contact with strangers and difficulty to maintain "proper social distancing" in popular neighborhoods. Parties with non-household members, carnivals, festivals, and haunted house attractions are also not allowed.
"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," the health department said in a statement. "'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."
While trick-or-treating is off the table this year for folks in Los Angeles, the health department is encouraging people to still celebrate from a safe distance, like attending online parties over Zoom, going to a car parade, attending Halloween-themed movie nights at outdoor theaters, and dressing up your yard with Halloween decorations.
"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," the department said in its guidance for Halloween.
Los Angeles County isn't the first place to cancel Halloween activities. Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida has canceled its special ticketed event in the theme parks, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, due to the pandemic. In the United States, there are more than 6.3 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As cases continue to rise, one survey conducted by market research firm Insight to Action found that 70% of moms plan to celebrate Halloween this year. With people wanting to celebrate amid a pandemic, some members of Congress have come together to urge the CDC to come out with an official safety guidance for communities to safely celebrate Halloween this year, according to The Hill. "With the appropriate guidance from the CDC, Americans can celebrate Halloween throughout the month of October that prioritize community safety and adhere to rigorous socially distancing requirements," the members said in a statement.
Although the CDC has not come out with such guidelines yet, the agency recommends people avoid exposure to the coronavirus by limiting person-to-person contact. The CDC also recommends frequently washing your hands (or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol), avoiding close contact with others, and covering your nose and mouth with a cloth face covering while in public. So, having kids put their hands in a bowl of fun-sized candy bars left out by the neighbors might not be the safest idea, even if research has found that kids tend to experience severe illness with COVID-19 less frequently than adults.
Although kids in Los Angeles County might not be able to show off their Dr. Fauci-inspired Halloween costume to their friends in person this year, Zoom is always a safe option.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.