Halloween is pretty much the most socially distanced holiday you can hope for. By “Halloween,” I want to make clear I’m talking about the type of Halloween that’s for actual youngsters and their parents to go door-to-door, not an excuse for overgrown youngsters to meet at Tequila Johnny’s dressed as their favorite pop culture reference.
For those who are still young enough to trick-or-treat, Halloween was COVID-proof before COVID-19.
Children and their guardians are outdoors. They travel in their immediate social bubble. Their contact with others is minimal and the whole thing could easily be contactless. They’re encouraged — in fact, repeatedly admonished — not to go into someone’s home or apartment under any circumstances.
In some cases, these kids were even rocking masks decades before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were recommending it. All that has to be done is expand it universally.
It could even, by golly, be seen as liberal. We’re redistributing wealth from all of the homeowners and tenants with real jobs (and/or living on retirement savings or benefits) and giving it to children in the form of candy.
Children might get money from their parents all the time, of course, but seldom for a whole pail of fun-sized 3 Musketeers bars. (An aside: Why do people always seem to think the love of 3 Musketeers bars is more universal on Halloween than it really is? And why do they think anyone likes Necco wafers, a confectionary that dates back to the pre-Civil War days and was every bit as bilious then as it is now?)
And then there were the Halloween gatherings. I don’t know about what they were like when you were a kid, but when I was young we’d have a few kids over — usually the ones I’d trick-or-treated with.
We’d play video games, trade candy and eat it, all under the watchful eyes of adults. Surely this can’t be difficult to adapt for the COVID-19 age, especially given the helicopter parent hadn’t even been invented back when I used to do this. You can hold them outdoors, even.
Given how the youngest among us have borne more than their share of the brunt of this virus — between ineffectual virtual learning and the stunting of their social growth — at least Halloween should have been a rare opportunity to allow our children, for one night, a glimpse of what life was like seven short months ago.
But of course not. Not in America’s largest county, anyhow.
According to guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, “Halloween gatherings, events or parties with non-household members are not permitted even if they are conducted outdoors.” Also lumped together in the same category: “Carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, and haunted house attractions,” which are unsurprisingly not allowed.
Also not recommended are trick-or-treating or “trunk-or-treating,” where kids get candy from people in their cars. I know, the latter was usually frowned upon in the extreme when we were kids but could now be seen as a safer version of trick-or-treating.