Central Coast public health departments working on Halloween guidelines

Sep 11, 2020

Los Angeles County has banned haunted house attractions and festivals this Halloween, and the LA County health department is also recommending parents not take their kids trick-or-treating due to COVID-19.

While Halloween traditions are up in the air in the Central Coast due to the pandemic, that’s not stopping people from coming into the Santa Maria Spirit Halloween store. 

“On the weekends we get really busy," store manager Chris Rustrian said. "People would expect with COVID going around we wouldn’t, but we’re doing steady as the business standpoint of it.”

Rustrian said most people are coming into his store for decorations, but he’s noticed it’s the kids who are urging their parents about getting costumes. 

“They don’t know what's going on," Rustrian said. "They just think ‘it’s Halloween time and I’m ready to go trick-or-treating.'”

Los Angeles County was the first in the state to announce coronavirus-related guidelines for the popular fall holiday; other counties have yet to follow suit.

San Luis Obispo County executive Wade Horton said in a public health briefing this week officials have started the conversation about potential guidelines for Halloween. 

“We are going to get together and talk about the best way forward with Halloween," Horton said. "We will make sure that we explain that to all of you.”

But both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara county health departments have yet to decide on what restrictions, if any, will be in place this Halloween.

For Grover Beach father Josh Shaw, he thinks it should be up to the parents to decide. 

“I don't agree with a ban," Shaw said. "I think we can be safe and still trick-or-treat here with our kids.”

Shaw said even if the county puts a ban on trick-or-treating, he’d still take his four-year-old out to get candy from neighbors. 

“Because he loves it—last year he was a SWAT officer, this year he’s going to be Batman," Shaw said. "We shouldn’t punish the kids for something that is going on.”

Rustrian said even if trick-or-treating is a no-go this year, he thinks there are plenty more ways to celebrate the holiday.

“Halloween is not just about trick-or-treating and candy," Rustrian said. " It’s about the vibes, you get the creepy clowns, scary movies, people love decorating their house.”