Halloween Activities Restricted in Los Angeles County

Nights of the Jack launch at King Gillette Ranch on October 10, 2018 - Getty-H 2019
John Sciulli/Getty Images for Nights of the Jack

Though guidelines released by health officials' guidelines state Halloween gatherings, events or parties with non-household members are not permitted even if conducted outdoors, other L.A. venues will have alternative options.

As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues, Halloween is going to look quite different in Los Angeles this year.

On Wednesday, county health officials released guidelines for Halloween celebrations, including restrictions on holiday traditions and suggestions for "safer alternatives" that can allow residents to minimize contact with others.

According to the guidelines, Halloween gatherings, events and parties with non-household members are not permitted, even if conducted outdoors. Such gatherings include carnivals, live entertainment, festivals and haunted house attractions. Meanwhile, trick-or-treating is not recommended due to the risks of shared food as well as difficulty judging adherence to face-mask rules under costumes and maintaining "proper social distancing on porches and at front doors."

"Trunk or treating" — where children travel from car to car in a designated parking lot instead of house to house — is also not recommended.

However, myriad alternatives were provided by health officials including online pumpkin carving contests, Halloween movie nights at drive-in theaters and car parades (where people can dress up in costume and decorate their cars while driving by the homes of friends and family). Alternative recommended celebrations also include Halloween-themed dining at outdoor restaurants, dressing up in costumes at home, decorating yards with Halloween-themed decor, and attending Halloween-themed art installations at outdoor museums.

Possible penalties were not made clear should anyone violate the Halloween restrictions.

Though Universal Studios has canceled its annual Halloween Horror Nights event this year, other venues in Los Angeles have found ways to comply with protocols for social distancing, the wearing of face masks and sanitation.

The Haunted Hayride will now move this year from Griffith Park to San Dimas and be re-imagined as a drive-up experience. Meanwhile, Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge will hold a "Halloween at Descanso" event which will include a hay maze and pumpkin displays while maintaining social-distancing measures. The Nights of Jack attraction will return to King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas from Oct. 1 thru Nov. 1 and reimagined as a contactless drive-thru trail.

Meanwhile, an interactive drive-thru experience from Experiential Supply dubbed Haunt'O'ween LA will take place on Oct. 9 thru Oct. 31 in Woodland Hills from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. The experience will feature a reimagined "door to door" trick or treating in which costumed and masked actors will greet vehicles driving by with poles and buckets filled with candy; an immersive Jack-O-Lantern tunnel with 1,000 pumpkins; interactive pumpkin patch; socially distanced photo and video ops and scenic paths to drive through. Freeform's annual 31 Nights of Halloween will be reimagined as Halloween Road which will also feature a drive-thru experience where visitors can venture through worlds of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, Hocus Pocus and Ghostbusters.

The guidelines come shortly after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new, color-coded process for reopening California businesses that will be more gradual and prevent the risk of loosening restrictions too soon. Counties will now move through a new, four-tier system based on their number of cases and percentage of positive tests. The changes come nearly two months after the governor closed bars, restaurants for indoor dining and other businesses following a surge in cases after the state's first reopening attempt.

Sept. 10, 2:15 p.m. Updated with Nights of Jack announcement
Sept. 14, 11:19 a.m. Updated with Haunt'O'ween LA event
Sept. 14, 2:38 p.m. Updated with Freeform's event.