SAN FRANCISCO—An official from San Francisco’s COVID command center says certain halloween activities including trick-or-treating are not banned, only discouraged. 

Eater SF, a dining-centric publication, contacted the city’s health officials who say in an email, “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 6 feet and have consistent use of face covering when many households gather on the street.”

To comply with health orders, officials say “Gatherings with people who don’t live with you is discouraged, including parties, parades, festivals, and haunted houses. Although outdoor events are much safer than indoor ones, large gatherings of people still increases the risk of infection.”

They alternatively recommend “decorating your door, windows, and yard and wearing a scary mask on top of your protective face covering. You can also show off your costumes, carve pumpkins, or have a mask decorating contest and share your ideas on a video call with friends or from afar.”

This motion comes after the Department of Health officials banned parades, haunted houses, and trick-or-treating in Los Angeles County on September 8, then repealed the action a day later. According to a public briefing held by Barbara Ferrer, officials are recommending that trick-or-treating does not happen this year. Additionally, aforementioned car parades and drive-through haunted houses are permitted as long as they follow health and safety standards.

San Francisco’s COVID command center writes, “Many of the traditions for Halloween increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. We encourage families to find creative and socially distant ways to celebrate.”