Cities and counties across California are spinning cobwebs of different possible Halloween celebration scenarios, but Mayor Breed warns we may be whistling past the graveyard if we let kids trick-or-treat here.
We’ve had to suck it up and deal with the cancellations (or Zoom-ifications) of so many of our favorite happenings here at the six-month anniversary of shelter-in-place, settling for homebound live streams of faves like SF Pride, Folsom Street Fair, and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to name a just few. But the likely constrictions coming to Halloween are especially rough, not just because of San Francisco’s annual full month of slutty dress-up parties for adults, but more since trick-or-treating is a high holy holiday on the kid calendar. Can you imagine trying to tell a youngster they cannot trick-or-treat? Parents nationwide are dealing with the gut-wrenching conversation now.
KGO’s Kristen Sze had Mayor London Breed on yesterday, and asked her the $100,000 Bar question: “Will Halloween trick-or-treating be allowed this year in the city?”
“We’re having those discussions,” Breed said. “It’s so important that no matter what we choose to do, that we do it safely. That we use common sense. Because I know those parents, more importantly, want to get their kids back in school more than anything else. And I’m not certain if Halloween will be problematic or what kind of things you can put into place. I know that there have been these drive-by birthday parties with cupcake hand-outs and stuff like that. Parents have come up with some really creative ways to celebrate. It doesn’t always have to involve trick-or-treating or some of the traditional things that we’ve done.
“But the more [activities] we do, the more we risk getting COVID, and the more chances there are that we could see the numbers go up, that could delay opening and returning to school. So we’ve got to be just very thoughtful about the decisions that we make, unfortunately. You know, Halloween is one of my favorite times of year, so it is so tough to ask people to just hold off on something like that. We’ve all got to suffer and do our part.”
At the state level, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly is not candy-coating things. "No trick-or-treating. The type of mixing that comes in our traditional trick-or-treating festivities is really not advised under COVID," he said in a separate KGO report. "We're going to be working to put out some guidelines that are clear about how we can still celebrate the Halloween festivities."
But a Stanford infectious disease specialist says that’s all hocus pocus, and that costumed kiddos collecting candy is a low-risk activity. "After you ring the doorbell, step back six feet, and wear your mask or face covering," Dr. Dean Winslow told the station. "But I think that this is probably one of the low-risk holidays since it is primarily an outdoor event."
"I certainly would recommend that you wash your hands frequently, or use hand sanitizer after you potentially open the packages," he added. "But this virus doesn't remain on surfaces for a really long, long time."
No trick-or-treating, no parties, no carnivals and no festivals. In light of the ongoing pandemic, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has issued new guidelines for Halloween https://t.co/s0ofnCwsYT— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) September 9, 2020
Los Angeles County had issued a full Halloween ban last week, as KCBS reported there would be “No trick-or-treating, no parties, no carnivals and no festivals.” But the pitchforks came out and officials walked back their trick-or-treating restrictions, according to Our Community Now California. The county has revised their guidance to say that trick-or-treating is "not recommended" but added that "themed outdoor dining, or drive-up events where people receive commercially packaged treat bags are still allowed under the LA County guidelines.”
HALLOWEEN 2020 🎃👻— KPIX 5 (@KPIXtv) September 16, 2020
Amid the #coronaviruspandemic, @CoCoHealth is advising against the usual #Halloween traditions — #trickortreating, haunted houses, & more to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.https://t.co/7fUhKSEdu6
Here in the Bay Area, Contra Costa County is “recommending” that kids not trick-or-treat, per KPIX. Contra Costa Health Services issued a statement this morning saying that “COVID-19 can easily pass from person to person through close contact, and it’s difficult to maintain a safe distance on porches and doorsteps, especially in neighborhoods where trick-or-treating is popular.”
We are STILL able to carry the spirit of Halloween with us. Don’t lose it.#Halloween #Halloween2020 #HalloweenNOTCanceled #SpiritOfHalloween #CarryOn #PressOn #Pandememe #HalloweenMeme #Pandemic pic.twitter.com/0BukhypEfb— Katie Patterson (@ActorKatieP) September 16, 2020
The reality is that people are probably just going to do what they want, a percentage of families will allow their kids to trick-or-treat, and there is likely to be no enforcement of any restrictions. We probably won’t see the traditional kid-centric trick-or-treat block parties on places like Noe Valley and NoPa, but we might see an uptick in cases if Halloweening is the superspreader event that some experts fear. So if kids trick-or-treating, or grownups partying gives you the willies, probably best to stay at home and just watch what they do with the top of the Salesforce Tower
Image: Jean L. via Yelp