SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Health officials for the city of San Francisco announced new guidelines and restrictions for Halloween in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. In a press release sent out on October 2, city officials said parties and gatherings, indoors or outdoors, of more than 12 people are prohibited. Halloween festivals and live entertainment events have been cancelled, and trick-or-treating is “discouraged,” but not banned.

“Many traditional Halloween activities-such as trick-or-treating, indoor costume parties, and sharing festive food or drink-pose a high risk of cross contamination and the possible transmission of COVID-19,” the San Francisco Department of Public Health explained.

“Door-to-door trick-or-treating is discouraged because it can be difficult to maintain proper physical distancing at front doors and on crowded sidewalks, it is difficult to ensure that everyone answering or coming to the door is appropriately masked, and because sharing food is considered a high-risk activity.”

The San Francisco Department of Public Health recommends trick-or-treaters, and people handing out candy to take measures to wear masks and ensure social-distancing between other people and groups. They have also suggested safer alternatives for celebrating Halloween, which include:

  • Virtual parties/contests
  • Creating a haunted house in your living space for members of your household
  • Decorating your front yard or door
  • Scavenger hunt for hidden treats in your living space for members of your household, rather than going house-to-house
  • Having a scary movie night or other Halloween-themed activities
  • Outdoor pumpkin carving
  • Halloween themed meals at outdoor restaurants to support local businesses
  • Having or attending a socially-distanced, outdoor costume parade with no more than 12 people.