Los Angeles (AFP)

In the closet, princess costumes, Batman disguises and Donald Trump masks: health authorities this year called on Americans to give up the very traditional Halloween celebrations and to stay wisely at home to ward off the specter of the coronavirus.

On the evening of October 31, millions of American children have the custom of wearing more or less frightening outfits and going door to door to ask local residents for sweets, throwing the magic phrase: "trick or treat" (" trick or treat").

The Covid-19 pandemic will shake up Halloween this year.

"Many traditional Halloween activities can present a great risk of spreading viruses," said the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) in a statement.

The health authorities therefore recommend that parents do not organize costume parties in closed spaces and even prohibit their children from parading in the neighborhood to obtain sweets.

"Going to a haunted house where people can be crowded together and screaming" is not a good idea this year, the CDC insists.

To celebrate Halloween safely, Americans are encouraged to carve pumpkins at home and hold virtual costume contests.

And if the Halloween appeal is really too strong, the CDC believes that a “one-sided” candy hunt or disguised parades that respect physical distancing present a “moderate” risk.

Los Angeles County, one of the main foci of the pandemic on the West Coast, initially announced a ban on all Halloween-related group activities, including the notorious "trick or treat".

But before the outcry over this decision, the authorities quickly changed their minds, contenting themselves with saying that they were "not recommended".

© 2020 AFP