Will COVID cancel Halloween 2020?

By Natalie Luna

Halloween holds a special place in many people’s hearts. There is something special about dressing up in a costume, walking through different neighborhoods, collecting candy, or attending a costume party. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spend about $9 billion annually on Halloween, so it is one of the holidays many children and even adults look forward to each year. 

On September 9, however, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced a city wide ban on door-to-door or car-to-car trick-or-treating for Halloween, along with large Halloween parties, carnivals, and haunted houses due to the pandemic. The department cited the difficulty of maintaining proper social distancing.

“Even a pandemic can’t cancel Halloween,” L.A County Supervisor Janice Hahn told the LA Times. 

Less than a day after issuing the health guidelines about the banning of Halloween activities, public health officials of Los Angeles County reversed their decision strongly recommending against traditional Halloween practices like trick-or-treating instead of officially banning them. 

“This year it’s just not safe to celebrate in the ways we usually do, we are not recommending that trick-or-treating not happen this year, it’s just not sensible in a pandemic,” Director of Public Health for Los Angela’s Dr. Barbara Ferrer said in a press conference. 

Ferrer also said that even though trick-or-treating typically takes place outdoors, there is no guarantee that people will open their doors. 

Even though it is technically allowed, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues to stress how it is still unsafe due to the inability to guarantee that the people handing out candy will be wearing a mask, are not sick or have not contaminated the candy being given out. 

This news was not received well by some residents. 

“I do not agree with the new measures in place, trick-or-treating is an outdoor activity and we can leave candy out in bowls instead of actually handing out candy,” San Fernando Valley resident Joanna Cortez said.

But some residents agree with County suggestions. A Burbank homeowner, James Lamb said that he has had hundreds of trick-or-treaters, but in light of the pandmeic, he does not think it is a good idea this year.

In this case, Halloween will be drastically different. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun, however. The CDC has included low risk festive activities that families can still participate in such as:

  • Halloween movie nights with family members.
  • Decorating your house for the festive season.
  • Carving pumpkins with your family, and if with friends, at a safe distance. 
  • Outdoor activities where people are wearing face masks, sanitizing regularly, and staying at a safe distance.
  • Virtual costume contest.
  • Take a drive through your neighborhood to look at the decorations.

The CDC maintains that it is vitally important for all individuals to enjoy this holiday responsibly in order to keep everyone safe. The best way to do this is practice social distancing, wear a mask, and wash your hands. 

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