How You Can and Can’t Celebrate Halloween in L.A. This Year

L.A. County has revised public health guidelines for Halloween and while trick-or-treating is no longer banned, the practice is still discouraged

UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 9, 2020, 3:30 P.M. – Los Angeles County has “slightly revised” its Halloween safety guidelines. Under the updated policies, trick-or-treating will not be outright banned by public health officials–but the practice is still strongly discouraged.

“This year, it’s just not safe to celebrate in the ways we usually do,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer said on Wednesday afternoon. “We are recommending that trick-or-treating not happen this year.”

Other than the minor revision on private trick-or-treating and car-based trunk-or-treating, all other guidelines remain as previously stated.

SEPTEMBER 9, 2020, 10:26 A.M. – With a very real killer on the loose this Halloween in the form of COVID-19, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has issued official Halloween safety guidelines. Masks, naturally, are encouraged–but most other ways we’re used to celebrating spooky season don’t really work with distancing and prevention protocols. But don’t fear! While trick-or-treating and crowded carnivals might be off for 2020, there are still ways to have a scary good time.

Not Allowed Under L.A. County Halloween Safety Guidelines

Trick-or-Treating: All door-to-door trick-or-treating is off this year, per the guidelines. Officials say it’s too difficult to maintain distancing or cleanliness with kids ringing doorbells and picking up candy.

Trunk-or-Treating: This trick-or-treat variant where families gather in a single outdoor area and park their cars so kids can walk around picking up treats also won’t fly under the Halloween safety rules as it still encourages large gatherings of non-household members potentially cross-contaminating one another.

Haunted Houses, Festivals, or Carnivals: No activities that involve entering a building or space in person will work, even if they’re held outdoors. Events like the massive, packed WeHo Halloween carnival have major super-spreader potential.

Parties of Any Kind with Non-Household Members: Remember that one birthday party that’s now linked to dozens of COVID-19 cases and multiple deaths? That’s not the kind of Halloween scare you want. All gatherings with non-household groups remain banned.

Celebrations that Are Allowed Under L.A. County Halloween Safety Guidelines

Halloween Car Parades: As long as the parade follows the established guidelines for car parades, you’re welcome to stage one for Halloween. Public Health suggests considering car “costume” contests with decorated vehicles or having events where “treat bags” of commercially-produced, individually-wrapped candies are given out at a station while participants stay inside the car.

Drive-Through Experiences: Walk-through haunted houses won’t work, but the various drive-through haunted houses and other pop-up experiences are totally fine, as long as you’re inside the vehicle.

Drive-In Movies: Several drive-in movie series will be showing scary movies for spooky season. As long as they’re following their protocols, this is A-OK.

Outdoor Art Exhibitions and Home Decorations: Outdoor museums operating in compliance with protocols are welcome to stage scary exhibits for visitors to view in a distanced, compliant way. There’s also nothing wrong with going all out on decorating your house for neighbors to enjoy as they walk or drive by.

Themed Meals at Restaurants: Assuming the restaurant’s dining area is outdoors and they’re following all protocols, restaurants are welcome to stage spooky themed meals, perhaps with costumes or special dishes.

RELATED: COVID-19 Is Already Canceling Halloween at SoCal Theme Parks

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