SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California public health leaders are strongly discouraging families from trick-or-treating this year due to coronavirus concerns.

On Tuesday, the California Department of Public Health released guidelines for Halloween and Dia de los Muertos celebrations.

Dr. Erica Pan, the state’s acting Public Health Office, stressed that COVID-19 remains a serious risk – and that Californians needed to continue to take precautions as the holiday season arrives.

“As a parent I know the difficulty of explaining the need to modify annual traditions because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Pan said in a statement.

As part of the guidance, California health officials are strongly discouraging traditional trick-or-treating. Instead, families are being urged to consider alternative activities like a candy scavenger hunt around the house or car-based tours of Halloween decorations.

The CDC’s guidance on Halloween activities do not explicitly discourage trick-or-treating. Instead, they urge families to take steps to make trick-or-treating safer, like: giving treats outdoors and setting up a station with bagged treats ready to be taken.

Despite discouraging trick-or-treating, California has started to ease some coronavirus restrictions as the holidays approach. On Monday, other new guidelines released included allowing up to three households to gather as long as they follow safety precautions and wear masks.

It marked the first time health officials had stopped discouraging gatherings outside of a single household.

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