Deep down, you already knew this: that Halloween as we know it is basically canceled this year. But Los Angeles County has now made it official with its latest holiday guidelines—and also allowed room for plenty of car-based alternatives this October.
In a document dated September 5, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released guidance for what Halloween activities are and aren’t permitted this year. To cut right to it: Haunted houses, parties, carnivals, festivals and live entertainment are all banned this year. In addition, door-to-door trick-or-treating as well as “trunk-or-treating” events, where kids walk from car to car in a parking lot, are both listed as “not recommended” (as of a September 9 update to the guidance).
However, drive-through haunted houses where you remain in your car the entire time are still allowed, as are the increasing number of Halloween-themed screenings we’re seeing scheduled at old-school drive-in theaters and pop-up drive-in venues. As for trick-or-treating, the guidelines allow for car parades (where you or your car would get dressed up in costume) as well as drive-in events where you receive a takeway item or a commercially-packaged treat bag—that’s about the closest you’ll get. And though you won’t have kids coming to your door and begging for candy, you’re still welcome to decorate your home and yard.
If you’ve been following our event cancellation updates over the past few months, most this news shouldn’t come as a shock. Knott’s Scary Farm, Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, Disneyland’s Oogie Boogie Bash and the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor were all canceled weeks ago, as was West Hollywood’s Halloween Carnaval. In their place, we’ve seen a couple of drive-through haunted houses announced, including a car-bound pivot from the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride plus a drive-through at the OC Fair and a Stranger Things-inspired experience.
The original version of this story said that trick-or-treating was banned. However, an update to the county’s guidance actually lists trick-or-treating as “not recommended” instead of “not permitted.” This story has also been updated with Beverly Hills’ policy.