Los Angeles Cancels Halloween Haunts and Gatherings

September 9, 2020, 2:58 PM · (Updated) Los Angeles County health officials officially canceled a variety of Halloween events, including door to door trick or treating and home haunts, before walking back the ban on candy giveaways.

The moves, which came more than seven weeks in advance of the holiday, provided another sobering reminder that we are far from getting back to any type of pre-pandemic normal in Southern California.

The guidance from the LA County Department of Public Health initially prohibited door to door trick or treating as well as "trunk or treat" alternatives, out of concern that they would not support safe physical distancing. This afternoon, health officials walked that back to to saying that candy giveaways are "not recommended."

However, "carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, and haunted house attractions" remain prohibited, as are parties or gatherings with non-household members, even if they are held outdoors.

The county is allowing automobile-based Halloween events, such as the drive-through haunts that have been announced for this year. Drive-in Halloween movies are okay, too, as are Halloween-themed meals in approved outdoors restaurants. And feel free to do ahead and decorate your home to your dark heart's content.

Remembering the good times from last year's Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, which has been canceled for 2020....

The state's move yesterday to switch neighboring Orange County into a less-restrictive tier that allowed the partial return of indoor dining had raised hopes among some theme park fans that Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm had moved a step closer to their return. And maybe they have. But Los Angeles County's decision illustrates that many steps remain on the road to reopening.

Los Angeles County is the state's largest and is home to Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain. It remains in the most restrictive, Purple, tier in California's new pandemic rating system.

Replies (6)

September 9, 2020 at 4:06 PM

I smell a business opportunity... Anyone got a large enough plot of land for a drive in maze?

September 9, 2020 at 4:21 PM

L.A. doesn't mess around! I expect to see other counties around the country take similar steps in the coming days.

September 9, 2020 at 11:55 PM

I'm very glad to see that they rolled back the ban on trick or treating, as that's an outdoor activity where participants are often masked and distanced from one another. Besides, from the comments I saw initially, it sounded like such a thing would have brought open rebellion if any attempt to enforce it was made.

Honestly, we're at a point where leaders need to stop saying "you can't..." and instead start saying "you can if..." It's become increasingly clear those making directives aren't thinking things through, and every week fewer and fewer people are willing to comply with restrictive measures showing very little benefit. Taking anything further away could result in total breakdown of society, and that's the worst possible result.

September 10, 2020 at 12:25 AM

Anybody who's arguing that businesses need to be opened more rapidly should read this article and realize they are WRONG. If we can't have HALLOWEEN, if kids can't have Halloween, you can't have twofer Tuesdays at Applebees.

If adults hadn't been so greedy and self-interested at Memorial Day, our kids would have Halloween. As it stands, they won't get to see Santa, either, and won't attend school and won't see their little kid friends until fall 2021. So seriously: shut up your absurd arguments against the quarantine, ISOLATE and lord god let us survive this insanity.

September 10, 2020 at 2:06 AM

This has been one WEIRD year. I wish it had been weird in a more fun way, but we play the cards which we are dealt.

September 10, 2020 at 5:47 AM

I can’t say I disagree with you AJ. In addition to allowing things with restrictions I think it would be better if politicians invited us into the decision making matrix “If we allow X, we expect infections to increase by at, and deaths by Z, if we do A, then the numbers are B and C. If we do both it’s D and E... so we can do X or A, doing both is too risky”

I think we should also be showing the implications of the virus. Roll out a National/international campaign showing a 20/30 year old fighting for his/her life on a ventilator. Then maybe people will get the message.

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