Halloween Not ‘Canceled,’ But SF Says Lay Off The Parties And Trick-Or-Treating

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The cancelation of events wrought by COVID-19 has been both heartbreaking and financially devastating, even knowing that the 211,000 dead Americans (and counting) makes this entirely necessary. But few cancelations are as painful as Halloween, not just because it’s a month of kick-ass San Francisco parties, but more because the poor kids will be deprived of a proper trick-or-treating night. If you had told ‘little kid me’ that trick-or-treating is canceled, you’d be de dealing with hissy fits and tantrums well beyond Thanksgiving. 

So is trick-or-treating is canceled? State and local are giving mixed messages. California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly told KGO “No trick-or-treating. The type of mixing that comes in our traditional trick-or-treating festivities is really not advised under COVID.” In Los Angeles County, they canceled trick-or-treating, but then walked it back to simply say that trick-or-treating is “not recommended.”

Here in the Bay Area, the six Bay Area counties that pretty much make the same decisions put out a joint statement on Halloween saying that “trick-or-treating is a high-risk activity, because it increases contact with people outside of your household who may not be as careful about COVID-19 prevention.” They recommend the low-risk alternative of “scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in your home.”

If families must trick-or-treat, Bay Area officials provide a moderate-risk suggestion of “Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to physically distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard),” and to “Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.” 

Additionally, SF city officials said in an email to the Examiner that “Since many of the traditions for Halloween increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission, we encourage families to find creative and socially distant ways to celebrate.” They add that “Focusing on decorations, limiting activities to the people you live with, and virtual costume parties or contests will help keep our communities safe this season, especially our children.” Public gatherings of more than 10 are, or course, still banned.

KGO’s Kristen Sze put the question to Mayor London Breed two weeks ago. “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,” Breed said. “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.” 

The Mission Cultural Center is at least doing an online Dia de Los Muertos livestream on Monday, November 2, at 5 p.m. PT. 

Some families are probably still going to trick-or-treat anyway, no matter what their county’s guidance says. But do exercise a whole lot of caution no matter what you do for Halloween, because we’re already seeing way too many of los muertos


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Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.