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Trick-or-treating 'strongly discouraged' by California Health and Human Services

One of the new guidelines from the state recommends that no more than three separate households should be at a gathering.

CALIFORNIA, USA — With many families getting ready for Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly released new guidance for people wanting to celebrate the holidays in a safe way.

"COVID-19 continues to pose a risk, so some traditional celebrations like parties and door-to-door trick-or-treating pose a high risk of spreading COVID-19 and are strongly discouraged," Ghaly said.

He said families should start thinking of alternatives as they look to celebrate, but also gave new guidance as restrictions become less strict throughout the state.

"I have four young kids itching and ready to go. I have an 11-year-old who’s thinking about being the NBA Bubble, which I look forward to seeing how that turns out and a 7-year-old thinking about how to be the coronavirus," Ghaly said.

As families celebrate, they should look to the new and old guidance to stay safe.

His "same old, same old" guidance includes wearing face coverings, specifying that masks for costumes do not count, continue physical distancing and hand hygiene and if someone is sick or high risk, they should stay home.

For the new guidelines, Dr. Ghaly wanted to make sure that people knew that "guidance does not mean go."

"It does not mean endorsing or suggesting, but providing ways to reduce risk to protect yourself and your families as we get closer to Halloween," Ghaly asid.

The new guidelines from the state are recommending that no more than three separate households should be at a gathering, try to limit the events to two hours or less and they should be held outside.

Similar guidelines are also being set for celebrating Dia de Los Muertos. The state says the safest way to celebrate is to spend time with people in the same household or do a virtual celebration.

State recommendations for safe alternatives for Halloween:

  • Creating a haunted house or candy scavenger hunt in your home
  • Having a scary movie night and Halloween-themed activities (pumpkin carving, face painting) at home
  • Participating in online parties/contests (e.g. costume or pumpkin carvings)
  • Attending car-based outings where people do not leave their car including drive-in events or contests or movies; driving through an area with Halloween displays
  • Eating a Halloween-themed meal with your household (alone or with up to 2 other households, not including your own, for a meal outside following all other gathering guidelines)
  • Enjoying a Halloween-themed art installation at an outdoor museum with your household
  • Dressing up homes and yards with Halloween-themed decorations
  • Giving treats at home only to those in your household.
  • Send a curated playlist and/or themed treats (or tricks) to your friends ahead of time.
  • Designing face masks that reflect your children's Halloween costumes
  • Prepare a Halloween basket for your children or Halloween hunt in your backyard

State recommendations for safe alternatives for Dia de los Muertos:

  • Altars: Consider placing and creating your altar in a front window or outside so others can view from a safe social distance.
  • Virtual Altar: Create a virtual space to honor lost loved ones. Share with family and friends via email or social media.
  • Cemetery Visits: If you visit the cemetery, only visit with those you live with, wear masks and maintain appropriate social distancing. Limit time spent to minimum necessary.

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