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Back in April, one thought on many people's minds was whether the coronavirus pandemic would abate in time to celebrate Easter with loved ones. Oh, how innocent we were.
Now with October approaching and domestic COVID-19 case numbers still rising, the latest holiday celebration to be called into question is Halloween — will people still be able to celebrate, or will they face legal consequences for doing so?
Los Angeles County recently announced a ban on trick-or-treating, then quickly had to backtrack amid widespread criticism. However, authorities there have cautioned people to refrain from celebrating in any way that may bring them into close contact with others. While case rates in LA County have slowed recently, other parts of the LA area are still seeing dramatic spikes in case numbers.
LA residents, however, should know that there are no plans to bring down legal consequences on trick-or-treaters — meaning Little Jimmy won't get a pair of real handcuffs to go along with his cop costume. If you live elsewhere, be sure to check local regulations and guidelines on Halloween and other activities and proceed accordingly.
Maskless trick-or-treating has the potential to become a nationwide superspreader event, meaning that it's probably not advisable right now — but so long as members of households stick together and wear masks, trick-or-treating may be done somewhat safely. Just remember to keep your hands clean and take precautions to protect those around you. And by "mask," we mean a CDC-approved face covering, not a Spiderman or hockey mask.
If you're looking to try and trick-or-treat, medical professionals say that hand-sanitizing stations near candy bowls may help protect against the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, when you consider whether to trick-or-treat, you should check the local case rate and determine what the best course of action is.
A Halloween party at your house isn't the answer, either. Hand sanitizer may smell like alcohol, but the two aren't interchangeable in keeping free of COVID-19. Experts have cautioned that home gatherings could actually be more dangerous than trick-or-treating with masks on.
As you make your Halloween plans this year, keep safety in mind. There's no haunted house scarier than a global pandemic!