Too Scary to Trick or Treat This Year

Too Scary to Trick or Treat This Year

After seven long months of sheltering in place, we’re finally starting to see the number of new COVID-19 cases in Alameda County decline. This decline has allowed our county to move into the “red tier” of Governor Gavin Newsom’s statewide reopening plan, where more businesses can open, and the Alameda Unified School District can start making plans to bring elementary school students back to school. And, if we maintain or reduce these numbers for another week our county will move into the “orange” tier, allowing even more businesses and activities to resume. Sustaining this progress depends on continued decreases in new COVID-19 cases.

As a result, the stakes are just too high to engage in traditional Halloween activities this year. We must celebrate Halloween differently so that trick or treating and Halloween parties don’t become COVID-19 “super spreader events” that erase the impressive progress we’ve made in slowing the spread of this disease.

Alameda County interim Public Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss offers this advice about Halloween: “Keep it small and keep it home.” He also recommends residents avoid trick or treating and parties.

Here are some great suggestions for how to have a fun, safe Halloween:

* The ghoulishly clever staff at Alameda Recreation and Parks Department has devised
“A Series of Unfortunate ‘Halloween’ Events,” all virtual, for the whole family. These events include posting your favorite Halloween and Fall recipes, sharing photos of your family and pets in Halloween costumes, pumpkin carving displays and a Halloween Family Trivia Night contest that includes prizes! For more details, visit, if you dare.
* Some neighborhoods in Alameda typically see more than 1,000 trick or treaters on Halloween which, in 2020, would violate the County Public Health Officer’s ban on large gatherings. As a result, many residents are planning to minimize decorations and other attractions that draw crowds.
* In neighborhoods with large numbers of young children, residents are planning socially distanced costume parades for kids on Halloween morning (Halloween falls on Saturday this year) as residents watch from their porches. On Halloween night they plan to turn lights off by 5 p.m. and not participate in trick or treat activities.
* Other safe ways to celebrate Halloween include a scavenger hunt around your home or yard and socially distanced neighborhood pumpkin carving contests.

Please keep your kids, and yourself, home and safe this Halloween. And remember to wear a mask over your nose and mouth whenever you leave home, stay six feet away from anyone who doesn’t live in your household, and wash your hands frequently.

Working together as a community we will continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to allow our children to go back to school and more businesses and activities to reopen.

Be smart! Be safe! Be counted! Vote! Be Alameda Strong!