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State Officials Release Guidance for Safer Halloween and Día de los Muertos Celebrations During COVID-19

Date: October 13, 2020
Number: NR20-265


Families Encouraged to Plan Lower-Risk Online, At-Home and Car-Based Activities

SACRAMENTO – As Californians prepare to celebrate Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released guidance for safer Halloween and Día de los Muertos celebrations during COVID-19.


"COVID-19 continues to pose a severe risk and requires all Californians to follow necessary precautions to keep themselves and their communities safe," said Dr. Erica Pan, Acting State Public Health Officer. "As a parent I know the difficulty of explaining the need to modify annual traditions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that's why the Department of Public Health is highlighting low-risk ways families can celebrate these holidays. Our ability to protect lives and limit the spread of COVID-19 depends on all of us taking the virus seriously. Wear a face covering, maintain physical distance and limit mixing with people outside your household."


The guidance strongly discourages traditional trick-or-treating and encourages families to plan safer alternatives. Suggestions include a candy scavenger hunt at home, scheduling online activities like pumpkin carving and costume contests, and car-based tours of Halloween displays.


The guidance also covers Día de los Muertos, a Mexican tradition celebrated in the Latino community honoring the deceased. Día de los Muertos celebrations often include gatherings of extended family as well as cemetery visits. Families are encouraged to place traditional indoor alters outside so others can view them from a safe distance, create virtual altars online and keep cemetery visits short in duration and limited to people within the same household.


Families and individuals are also urged to be check in with their counties so they are aware of any local guidance that applies to both holiday celebrations.


For more information about what Californians can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit

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