I'm just as confused as everyone else with all the orders, declarations, and beg-to-differs from our politicians, but from what I can determine El Pasoans can proceed with Halloween and Dia de los Muertos -- provided you're home before 10 p.m. per the curfew declaration, it’s one of the permitted activities listed below, and with proper precautions.

I know, it's a bit restrictive, but this year something is lurking about that's even scarier than witches, goblins, and calavera catrinas: COVID-19.

With the virus’s resurgence and the unprecedented rise in positive cases and hospitalizations in El Paso County, health officials are discouraging or not allowing participation in many traditional activities. So what kind of celebratory events, actions, and entertainment are we expected to hold off on this year?

Door-to-door trick-or-treating, and gatherings of almost every kind, for starters. Also frowned upon this year, per the Department of Public Health Halloween and Dia de los Muertos Guidance:

Activities Not Allowed:

• Halloween and Dia de los Muertos gatherings, events or parties with non-household members are not permitted even if they are conducted outdoors.

• Carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, and haunted house or Día de los Muertos attractions are not permitted.

• Door to door trick or treating is not permitted because it can be difficult to maintain proper social distancing on porches and front doors, individuals answering or coming to the door might belong to at-risk group of people that could pose a threat to their health, and because sharing food or drinks is risky.

• “Trunk or treating” Halloween events where children go from car to car instead of door to door to receive treats is also not permitted since it is difficult to avoid crowding and the sharing of food or drinks.

• Gathering or congregating at cemeteries to celebrate Dia de los Muertos will not be permitted.

• Haunted graveyard tours will not be permitted as well.

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Instead, El Pasoans are urged to consider safer alternatives “that reduce the risk of spreading or becoming infected with COVID-19.” This includes drive-by, drive-thru and drive-up events, as well as various virtual pursuits.

Permitted Activities

Taking their cue from recently published Centers for Disease Control guidelines, the Department of Public Health is okay with all of this for Halloween and Dia de los Muertos :

• Virtual online parties/contests (e.g. costume or pumpkin carving, Dia de los Muertos costumes).

• Car parades that comply with local public health guidance for vehicle-based parades including: (a.) Drive by events or contests where individuals dress up or decorate their vehicles and drive-by “judges” that are appropriately observing social distancing. (b.) Drive through events where individuals remain in their vehicles and drive through an area with Halloween displays. (c.) Drive in events where individuals can receive a treat bag (limited to commercially packaged non-perishable treats), take away item from an organizer while the participants remain in their vehicle, or depositing ofrendas for Dia de los Muertos displays avoiding gatherings.

• Decorating homes and yards with Halloween or Dia de los Muertos themed decorations.

• Halloween or Día de los Muertos movie nights at drive-in theaters (must comply with the public health drive-in movie theater guidance)

• Halloween or Día de los Muertos themed meals at home with same household members or outdoor restaurants (must comply with Local Heath Authority Orders)

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