By KATIE KINDELAN and ANGELINE JANE BERNABE, ABC News
(LOS ANGELES) — The coronavirus pandemic has already changed how Halloween will be celebrated in at least one American county.
In Los Angeles County, public health officials on Wednesday said door-to-door trick-or-treating is not recommended “because it can be very difficult to maintain proper social distancing on porches and at front doors.” They also also don’t recommend events like “trunk or treating,” where children go from car to car instead of door to door to receive treats.
One day prior to the announcement, on Tuesday, officials nixed trick-or-treating altogether, along with Halloween gatherings with people not in your household (even if they are held outside), events and parties, which are still not permitted at all this Halloween.
Also on the not allowed list this year for Halloween are carnivals, festivals, live entertainment and haunted houses, according to current guidelines from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Los Angeles County is the most populous county in the U.S., and since the pandemic began, there have been 6,090 coronavirus-related deaths and 249,859 cases.
While officials advised against trick-or-treating this Halloween, they did provide some alternate suggestions to celebrating spooky season during the pandemic, including car parades and drive-through events, Halloween movie nights at drive-in theaters and decorating homes and yards with Halloween-themed decorations.
Los Angeles County appears to be the first major county in the U.S. to announce guidelines pushing significant changes to the ways Americans traditionally celebrate Halloween.
How the holiday should be celebrated has been in question as the pandemic stretches on, schools struggle to reopen and the U.S. nears 200,000 deaths from COVID-19.
Similar to the reopening of schools, how Halloween will look in each community will depend largely on how well-contained, or not, the virus is in the community, according to Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez, an assistant professor of pediatrics and the director of the pediatric telemedicine program at Columbia University Medical Center.
“I don’t want to say that trick-or-treating should be completely canceled,” Bracho-Sanchez told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “It’s something that communities are going to have to weigh community by community, and that families are going to have to weigh family by family.”
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