With Halloween and Dia de los Muertos quickly approaching, the County is reminding residents to plan ahead and celebrate safely this year by avoiding gatherings. Many traditional holiday activities promote gatherings and mixing of households, which increase the risk of transmitting COVID-19. The County of Sonoma Department of Health Services has issued guidance to help our community stay safe as we celebrate Halloween and Dia de los Muertos. Read the guidance in English and Spanish.
Traditional activities such as door-to-door trick or treating, business-to-business trick or treating and “trunk or treating” are strongly discouraged this year due to the difficulty of maintaining proper social distancing and facial coverings, along with risks associated with touching high-contact surfaces such as doorbells and candy bowls.
Higher-risk Halloween activities that are not permitted include carnivals, festivals, live audience entertainment, indoor haunted houses, indoor gatherings, events or parties with non-household members. In accordance with state health guidance, outdoor gatherings are permitted if there are no more than 12 individuals, and no more than 3 households, and where people maintain at least 6-feet distancing with those not in their households, wear face coverings and practice hygiene standards.
Examples of safe Halloween alternatives that are encouraged, within specific guidelines, include:
- Online parties
- Car parades
- Drive-in movie nights
- Halloween themed meals at outdoor restaurants
- Outdoor, drive-through haunted houses
The County’s guidance follows closely the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Halloween, as well as recently issued guidance from California Department of Public Health for private gatherings.
Dia de los Muertos
Given the risks of COVID-19 transmission, Dia De Los Muertos indoor gatherings, events or parties with non-household members are not permitted. In accordance with state health guidance, outdoor gatherings are permitted if there are no more than 12 individuals, and no more than 3 households, and where people maintain at least 6-feet distancing with those not in their households, wear face coverings and practice hygiene standards. Carnivals, festivals and live audience entertainment are also not allowed.
To celebrate Dia de los Muertos, the following activities are permitted and encouraged:
Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors and delivering them in a way that does not involve contact with others
- Playing music in your home that your deceased loved ones enjoyed
- Working with members of your household to decorate your home with images and objects to honor your deceased loved ones
- Making and decorating crafts or making an altar for the deceased
- Setting out pillows and blankets in your home for the deceased
- Joining a virtual get-together
- While wearing a face covering, you can visit, and decorate the graves of loved ones with household members only, as long as you maintain more than 6 feet from others who may be in the area.
In addition to Halloween and Dia de los Muertos activities, visits to seasonal outdoor venues such as pumpkin patches are allowed as long as the use of face coverings and hand sanitizer is enforced and people are able to maintain social distancing.
The County’s Halloween and Dia de los Muertos guidance is especially critical as the COVID-19 virus continues to circulate in Sonoma County, which remains in the most-restrictive purple tier within the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
Coronavirus can spread asymptomatically through droplets from coughing, sneezing and talking, by aerosols caused by normal breathing, and through virus particles on hard surfaces. These forms of transmission are difficult to avoid with “normal” Halloween and Dia de los Muertos activities.
No matter how you choose to celebrate, Sonoma County asks community members to avoid close contact with those outside your household, wear proper face coverings, practice hand hygiene, and stay home when not feeling well. By planning early and identifying safe options you can have a healthy holiday and keep loved ones, friends, neighbors, and vulnerable community members safe.