LA County reverses trick-or-treating ban to ‘not recommended’

FILE PHOTO Wonder Woman Phoenix Silvers chooses which candy she wants after playing a carnival game at the Halloween Splash Carnival at the Castaic Sports Complex on Saturday. Raychel Stewart/The Signal

Trick-or-treating in Los Angeles County is not canceled after all, but it’s also not recommended, according to updated Public Health Department guidelines for the holiday. 

County health officials had initially issued a list of restrictions on some of the holiday’s traditions, which prohibited door-to-door trick-or-treating, but reversed the order to “not recommended” on Wednesday. 

“For this year, it’s just simply not safe to celebrate in the ways that we usually do,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of the county’s Public Health Department.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department won’t enforce the county’s latest Halloween orders, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Wednesday during a Facebook Live session. 

“We’re going to leave that alone,” he said. “We want parents out there to practice some common sense.”

In its guidelines, Public Health said some traditions will not be permitted or recommended because they do not allow individuals to minimize contact with non-household members.  

“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,” read a county statement. Here’s the updated version:  

Practices not permitted: 

  • Social gatherings with those outside one’s household, carnivals, festivals, haunted house attractions or live entertainment. 

Practices not recommended: 

  • Door-to-door trick-or-treating: Health officials said this is not advised because appropriate physical distancing, particularly in neighborhoods known to attract a lot of people, can be difficult to maintain. 
  • “Trunk-or-treating” events: Children are not advised to gather candy from car-to-car as an alternative to door-to-door activities. 

Practices allowed and recommended: 

  • Virtual parties and contests, such as for costumes or pumpkin carving. 
  • Car parades that comply with public health guidance for vehicle-based parades. For example, having drive-by costume contests where people dress up or decorate their cars and have drive-by judges that are appropriately physically distanced. 
  • Outdoor Halloween movie nights at drive-in theaters or outdoor museums. 

The announcement comes as multiple Halloween-themed attractions have been canceled due to the pandemic, including Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights annual event. 

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