City Strongly Discourages Halloween Trick-or-Treating, Gatherings

With Halloween on the horizon, the question on everyone’s mind is can we safely celebrate the holiday amid the COVID-19 pandemic? In a nutshell, the answer is, yes, but things are going to be different this time around.

When it comes to trick-or-treating this year, San Francisco officials are hoping residents will refrain from passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, because they say this and other Halloween traditions present risks of COVID-19 infection, per an article by Eater SF.

While, as of this writing, the City hasn’t banned trick-or-treating outright, the COVID command center did tell Eater SF via email that “trick-or-treating is strongly discouraged because the sharing of food, candy, and items is risky,” and that “it can also be difficult to maintain a distance of six feet and have consistent use of face

covering when many households gather on the street.”

The City didn’t stop there. According to Eater SF, the COVID command center also cautioned against groups on Halloween. “Gatherings with people who don’t live with you is discouraged,” the COVID command center said via email, “including parties, parades, festivals, and haunted houses. Although outdoor events are much safer than indoor ones, large gatherings of people still increase the risk of infection.”

Instead, the COVID command center told Eater SF, “we encourage families to find creative and socially distant ways to celebrate.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which echoes San Francisco’s COVID command center’s stance on Halloween by discouraging trick-or-treating and related gatherings, has some ideas on alternative ways to celebrate the holiday, per ABC-7.

Some of the CDC’s suggestions for low-risk Halloween activities during the pandemic include: Carving/decorating pumpkins with the family; carving/decorating

pumpkins outside, while maintaining a safe distance, with neighbors/friends; decorating your home for the holiday; Halloween scavenger hunt where children find

Halloween-themed things while walking outdoors from house-to-house; Halloween movie night with your family; and a Halloween scavenger hunt trick-or-treat

search, where your household searches around your own home for treats.

“We hope San Francisco residents will abide by the City and CDC’s advisements and refrain from risky Halloween trick-or-treating or gatherings this year,” said SF SAFE Executive Director Kyra Worthy. “If we take special precautions this year, chances are we’ll be able to return to our traditional celebrations before too long.”

-Kathy Chouteau