Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

LA County Discourages Trick-or-Treating This Year

The Halloween scary season is not far off, but because we’re already living in very scary times, at least one age-old Halloween ritual – door-to-door trick-or-treating – is being discouraged this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Yesterday, the LA County Department of Public Health issued a new order saying that, because of COVID-19 and the need to maintain safe social distancing, both traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating and the more modern “trunk-or-treating” alternative would not be allowed this year.  According to the announcement:

“As fall approaches, families start to plan for the upcoming holiday season beginning with Halloween. Since some of the traditional ways in which this holiday is celebrated do not allow you to minimize contact with non-household members, it is important to plan early and identify safer alternatives.”

Today, that announcement was walked back a bit, with trick-or-treating now listed as “not recommended” instead of prohibited.

According to the latest announcement, activities specifically not allowed this year include:

Gatherings or parties with non-household members (indoors or outdoors)
Carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, and haunted house attractions

Activities which are discouraged, but not prohibited include:

Door to door trick or treating
“Trunk or treating”

But many kinds of Halloween celebrations are still allowed:

Online parties/contests (e.g. costume or pumpkin carving)
Car parades that comply with public health guidance, including:

a. Drive-by events or contests where individuals dress up or decorate their vehicles and drive by “judges” that are appropriately physically distanced
b. Drive-through events where individuals remain in their vehicles and drive through an area with Halloween displays
c. Drive-in events where individuals can receive a treat bag (limited to commercially packaged non-perishable treats) while remaining in their vehicle

Halloween movie nights at drive in theaters (must comply with the public health drive-in movie theater guidance)
Halloween-themed meals at outdoor restaurants (must comply with the restaurant protocol)
Halloween-themed art installations at an outdoor museum (must comply with the public health museum guidance)
Dressing up homes and yards with Halloween-hemed decorations

And, as always, the Health Department also reminded people that even when participating in the allowed Halloween activities, people should continue to practice effective personal protection measures, including:

1. Wear a cloth face covering when outside your home and around others that are not part of your household
2. Avoid confined spaces – actively stay away from indoor spaces that don’t allow for easy distancing of at least 6ft between you and others
3. Avoid close contact – stay at least 6 feet away from all other people who are not part of your own household, especially while talking, eating, drinking, and singing
4. Wash or sanitize your hands often
5. Clean frequently-touched items regularly
6. If you are sick, or you have been in contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and away from others

For more information, see the full announcement here or visit the LA County coronavirus page at


[UPDATE:  An earlier draft of this story, based on the September 8 directive from the Health Department, said all trick-or-treating this year would be prohibited.  Today, however, shortly after we published this story, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced a slight relaxation of the original proclaimation.  The story has been adjusted to reflect the latest information, above.]

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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