Pandemic Interferes With Halloween Traditions

Pandemic Interferes With Halloween Traditions

Giorgio De Battista, News Editor '23

All big events in my city that were supposed to be held in the past months have been canceled. I’m positive trick or treating and the other big Halloween events will be part of the canceled events this quarantine.” 

Prisma Valdez, a Vanden sophomore living in Fairfield, is “positive” Halloween events will be cancelled in her city after hearing about a ban on trick-or-treating and events alike, announced by the L.A. County Department of Public Health. Less than a day later, they took a step back from their original ban by recommending against trick or treating and similar events, instead of a “ban” due to their “inability to maintain safe social distancing and the potential for gatherings beyond household members,” explains The L.A. Times.

“I think they responded properly because people shouldn’t be in big groups waiting for candy,” explained Vacaville resident and Vanden sophomore Fatima Angulo Barba, regarding her conflicted feelings. “But at the same time I think it takes away some of the joy some people might have with Halloween.”

Contrasting her thoughts, Valdez thinks people should be willing to give up this tradition in order to keep everyone safe. “Cancelling trick or treating is a good way to not get cases to rise again and not spread COVID-19.”

Guidelines for prohibited activities “have been slightly revised,” says L.A. Public Health Director, Barbara Ferrer. The prior “prohibited activities” are now given some slack and are “not recommended”. Ferrer thinks “it’s just not safe to celebrate in the ways we usually do . . . we are recommending that trick-or-treating not happen this year”. This goes for events like “trunk-or-treat”, an event more popular at school or church celebrations, in which one would open the trunk of their vehicle and set up decorations, passing out candy like they would at their own house for trick-or-treating.

The L.A. Times interviewed Joanna Cortez, a resident in Elysian Valley. “Trick-or-treating is an outdoor activity . . . We can have measures in place like social distancing and leaving candy out in a bowl for children versus actually handing out candy.”

From the perspective of someone going out and trick-or-treating, Barba and Valdez both think, hypothetically, if they were to go trick-or-treating, they would be able to follow social distancing parameters: wearing a mask, keeping a safe distance from people, etc. Valdez adds “I would wear a mask and gloves. Then after trick or treating I would disinfect my candy with Lysol wipes and leave it in the bag in the corner of my room for 48 hours.” 

They plan on staying inside to celebrate though, maybe inviting some friends or family members, still “using precautions.” The L.A. Times includes in their article, that Health Officials still think it could be hard to maintain proper social distancing having children coming up to houses trick-or-treating. 

The L.A. County Supervisor, Janice Hahn, persists that “even a pandemic can’t cancel Halloween . . . in fact it’s the only day of the year we expected to wear masks before this crisis started.” 

Even representatives from the candy industry had something to say about this. Carly Schildhaus of the National Confectioners Association explains that there will be regional differences in how people will celebrate Halloween and that they are “pleased that the Public Health Department in L.A. County is reassessing their earlier decision . . .” The L.A. Times will continue updates on guidelines regarding events being cancelled on Halloween.