You can still dress up to impress your housemates, but health officials are discouraging trick-or-treating. Courtesy photo.

If you haven’t purchased a costume yet, you might want to hold off because Halloween won’t include trick-or-treating due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to newly released Public Health Department guidelines for the holiday.

Many locals have questioned how Halloween would look this year with social distancing measures continuing to be a factor in the day-to-day life of residents across the Westside. This week, answers were given when Los Angeles County health officials issued a list of restrictions that pertain to some of the holiday’s most popular traditions. The Public Health Department was kind enough to also offer up a few practices that residents can partake in this year to celebrate as well though.

“Since some of the traditional ways in which this holiday is celebrated does not allow you to minimize contact with non-household members, it is important to plan early and identify safer alternatives,” the county guidelines begin. “The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health would like to share information on how to take part in this holiday in a manner that reduces your risk of developing COVID-19,” and since some of the traditional ways in which the holiday is celebrated are not permitted this year — the department has considered some safer alternatives that are listed below.

Prohibited Activities

This year there can be no door-to-door trick-or-treating, health officials said, because it’s nearly impossible to maintain proper social distancing measures at front doors and especially in neighborhoods that are known to attract a lot of crowds.

No “trunk or treating” events are allowed this year either, meaning children will not be allowed to gather candy from car-to-car as an alternative to door-to-door activities, according to the department’s statement. “Gatherings or Parties with non-household members are not permitted even if they are conducted outdoors,” and the same goes for carnivals, festivals, live entertainment and haunted house attractions.

Allowed Activities

Virtual parties and contests such as costumes or pumpkin carving are encouraged. Car parades that comply with public health guidance for vehicle-based parades are also allowed, health officials said, as long as residents dress up their cars and have drive-by judges that are appropriately physically distanced.

Two of the few group activities permitted during the upcoming holiday are outdoor Halloween movie nights at drive-in theaters and outdoor museums.

Health officials didn’t say what kind of enforcement measures would be in place. But Sheriff Alex Villanueva told the Associated Press Wednesday that his deputies will not be ticketing trick-or-treaters.

Los Angeles County remains in the state’s highest tier for virus danger, which is purple, meaning many nonessential businesses are closed, there’s no indoor dining and schools can’t return to in-person teaching unless they obtain a waiver to do so. Annual Halloween events such as Knott’s Scary Farm, Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, Disneyland’s Oogie Boogie Bash and the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor have also all been canceled recently because of COVID-19 concerns.

brennon@smdp.com