L.A. County walks back trick-or-treating ban, but says going door to door on Halloween is ‘not recommended’

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Trick-or-treating is not canceled in Los Angeles County after all.

A day after banning the Halloween tradition this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, L.A. County public health health officials reversed course on Wednesday, saying instead the activity is “not recommended.” 

Still, health officials are advising against going door-to-door to get candy. 

“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,” updated guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health read. 

The county is also advising against “trunk-or-treating” — that is, going car to car to receive candy. 

“For this year, it’s just simply not safe to celebrate in the ways that we usually do,” Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said at a news conference

Halloween activities that are still not permitted under the health order include carnivals, haunted houses, festivals, and live entertainment — as well as gatherings, events or parties with people outside your household.

Many popular annual activities, including the Disneyland Resort’s Oogie Boogie Bash, Knott’s Scary Farm and Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights were all canceled weeks ago.

Public health officials released a list of activities that are allowed and that they recommend. 

Those include online parties and contests — think pumpkin carving and costume contests — and car parades, provided those comply with public health guidelines. 

Halloween movie nights at drive-in-theaters, Halloween-themed meals at outdoor restaurants and Halloween-themed art installations at outdoor museums are among the permitted in-person activities. But, again, public health officials said these all must comply with current protocols.

Another holiday tradition Ferrer recommends: Putting up decorations at your home and in your yard.

“We’re asking a lot of each other as we learn how to live through a pandemic,” she said. “Being prepared, being flexible, and constantly figuring out new ways to stay connected and have fun is our reality.” 

The county’s full guidance can be found here.

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