Scare Tactics at a Time of COVID: Did They Really Just Try to ‘Cancel’ Halloween?  

Too many local governments have disappointed our children this year, and the latest edict out of L.A. County—“revised” a bit after some pushback—proves no exception. On top of everything else that’s been going on, health authorities recently announced that traditional Halloween trick-or-treating this October would be cancelled, essentially, along with masquerade parades and haunted house activities.

In the wake of pushback against the “Fun Is Forbidden” squad, and perhaps rethinking the optics, health officials there have reconfigured some of their edicts now and instead are “recommending” that people don’t participate in trick-or-treating.

Janice Hahn, the L.A. County supervisor, appeared to recognize in the revised guidance that “even a pandemic can’t cancel Halloween.”

Originally the word out of the county seemed to be: “Forget about your Halloween masks this year, kids—but you must wear your masks to protect against COVIDeven when you’re outside.” (What?)

Banned at first, according to public health officials, was door-to-door trick-or-treating, “because it can be very difficult to maintain proper social distancing on porches and at front doors.” Also originally prohibited were “‘trunk-or-treating’ events, where children go from car to car instead of door to door to receive treats.” Though not outright prohibited as of now, these activities are still “not recommended.”

But “gatherings or parties with non-household members”—even if such events are held outdoors—are still banned. Also still banned in L.A. County are “carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, and haunted house attractions.”

Hahn of L.A. County says in the revised edict, “Be safe, practice physical distancing, and get creative about how you celebrate with your kids this year.”

Parents of young children have always been creative. They’re smart and they’re adaptable. And because they love their kids so much, they’re always going to find ways to let the kids enjoy some Halloween fun, at a time of coronavirus or not. Families will figure out their own new traditions and good neighbors will work together, whether in costume or not. The vast majority will stay safe while doing so.

Above all, the American people are resilient and versatile, a fact that governments sometimes seem to forget.

What no one can forget, however, is that outdoor protests aren’t banned right now. Violence in too many of our cities does not seem to be banned. Abortion access in many areas of our country is not banned. How is all of this explained?

There is a hyperfocus on many everyday activities in America in the name of “safety” and “caution”—yet not enough focus on the dangerous and freedom-infringing activities of a reckless few right now. Kneejerk “bans” against the exercise of freedom need to be resisted. And governments must be wiser, tougher, smarter, and safer when it comes to keeping law and order and protecting people and property across our country. This is something President Donald Trump emphasized even before he was elected president four years ago.

We can be smart. We can be safe. We can be social-distanced. But we don’t need to be shut down.

As Americans, we do need to be protected against lawlessness.

Gazing ahead at the fall calendar this year, what else might local governments try to “ban” in the weeks and months ahead? Thanksgiving events? Hanukkah observations? Christmas celebrations? New Year’s Eve get-togethers?

This fall, scare tactics are frighteningly inappropriate, as are the knocks against individual freedoms. Let’s be safe—but let’s be free. Let’s preserve and protect all of America and all Americans everywhere.

This piece was written by Maureen Mackey on September 14, 2020. It originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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