Halloween is one of the most popular holidays of the year, but activities like trick-or-treating and large parties are discouraged this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID-19 continues to pose an important risk, as we say time and time again, so some of the traditional Halloween celebrations such as parties, door-to-door trick-or-treating, we know pose a high risk of spreading COVID, and are therefore strongly discouraged,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s secretary of Health and Human Services, said earlier in October. “We suggest families, given this, should plan now on safer alternatives.”
The Los Angeles County of Public Health recently updated its guidelines for those celebrating Halloween.
Not permitted are carnivals, festivals, live entertainment and haunted house attractions (major theme parks remain closed).
Door-to-door trick-or-treating is “not recommended” since it’s difficult to maintain social distancing, mask-wearing and food safety.
So what are the alternatives? Online parties and costume contests, of course. Drive-thru events where occupants remain in their vehicle at all times are also acceptable.
One such experience is Hauntoween LA (pictured above), an immersive yet safe drive-thru experience for the entire family in Woodland Hills created by experience company Experiential Supply.
The experience, which costs $70 per vehicle, features a neighborhood decked out in Halloween decor (cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns, etc.). Masked and glove-wearing “neighbors” will emerge from their homes with poles and buckets filled with wrapped candy for the trick-or-treat experience (all guests are required to wear masks while windows are down and surfaces are sanitized). There’s also a festive jack-o-lantern tunnel and an interactive pumpkin patch where guests can select a pumpkin that is sanitized and bagged for retrieval later.
“Our kids are facing so many challenges right now, and we didn’t want the pandemic to ruin Halloween! We decided to create something relevant and exciting that could bring the whole L.A. community together,” Experiential Supply Co. founder and chief experience officer Jasen Smith said.
“Happy Halloween LA” also offers an immersive, drive-thru experience at Bicentennial Park in Pico Rivera. This experience — priced at $60 — features giant inflatable monsters (as well as dinosaurs). There’s also a special section dedicated to and Dio de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).
For Dio de los Muertos, the county recommends altars placed near a front window (be careful with candles) or outside so others can view it from a distance. If families are planning a visit to the cemetery, the county recommends only going with those you live with, limiting time, and of course, wearing masks.
Drive-in theaters have seen a resurgence during the pandemic, and many have changed their slates to feature horror and slasher films if you’re seeking a more adult experience.
Other permitted activities include Halloween-themed outdoor dining (restaurants must comply with restaurant protocols). Pumpkin patches must abide by retail protocols. At least one popular Halloween destination — Mr. Bones’ Pumpkin Patch in Culver City — chose not to open at all in 2020 amid the ongoing pandemic.
Check out L.A. County’s Department of Health Halloween and Dio de los Muertos recommendations here.