Halloween to be celebrated 2020 style in Ojai

10 30 HalloweenAustin Widger,Ojai Valley News reporter

Though this won’t be a typical Halloween, organizations around Ojai are still planning ways to celebrate the holiday 2020 style.


Matilija school drive-thru

The festivities will get started at Matilija Middle School on Friday, Oct. 30, where drive-thru trick-or-treating will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Kids will have the opportunity to get treats from teachers and members of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization.

Sold-out Spooktacular

Around the same time Oct. 30, the Ojai Valley Inn will hold a sold-out Spooktacular Drive-Thru at various times from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The 20-minute “drive-into experience will be for all ages at this time slot. 

Then, from 7 to 9 p.m. will come the big scares, which are recommended for ages 13 and up. 

The cost for each Spooktacular Drive-Thru is $20 per vehicle and includes a goodie bag. Advance ticket purchase was required at and the event is sold out. Vehicles start the Spooktacular at the tennis lot at the Ojai Valley Inn, 905 Country Club Drive. People can sign up for a wait list online at

Drive-in Halloween movie

Also on Oct. 30, Ojai Unified School District is screening — for a drive-in movie experience — Disney’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Parking will start at 6:30 p.m. in the Nordhoff High School parking lot and the movie starts at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets and dinner/snack preorders are available for pre-purchase online at Tickets will also be sold at the event.

Costume contest 

On Halloween afternoon, Oct. 31, The Basic Premise art gallery will host a Halloween sale and socially distanced costume contest from 3 to 7 p.m. 

The gallery currently looks like an Ojai City Gift store, as artist-in-residence Elizabeth Herring has this exhibit on display at the 918 E. Ojai Ave.

The costume contest will be hosted by Michele Shocked of Oak View, and the first three costume winners will receive an Ojai City Gift shirt. 

To participate in the contest, make sure to have your photo taken in costume, and results will be posted the next day.


Halloween safety guidance

The California Department of Public Health has issued guidance for safer Halloween and Día de los Muertos celebrations:

The safest way to celebrate Halloween is to spend time with people in the same household or to celebrate virtually. Some specific alternatives that are low risk, but still capture the holiday fun include:

— Creating a haunted house or candy scavenger hunt in your home.

— Having a scary movie night and Halloween-themed activities (pumpkin carving, face painting) at home.

— Participating in online parties/contests (e.g., costume or pumpkin carvings).

— Attending car-based outings where people do not leave their car including drive-in events or contests or movies; driving through an area with Halloween displays.

— Eating a Halloween-themed meal with your household (alone or with up to two other households, not including your own, for a meal outside following all other gathering guidelines).

— Enjoying a Halloween-themed art installation at an outdoor museum with your household.

— Dressing up homes and yards with Halloween-themed decorations.

— Giving treats at home only to those in your household.

— Send a curated playlist and/or themed treats (or tricks) to your friends ahead of time.

— Designing face masks that reflect your children’s Halloween costumes

— Prepare a Halloween basket for your children or Halloween hunt in your back yard.

Safer alternatives for Día de los Muertos

The safest way to celebrate Día de los Muertos is to spend time with people in the same household or to celebrate virtually. Some specific alternatives that are low risk but still capture the cultural celebration inlcude:

— Altars: Consider placing and creating your altar in a front window or outside so others can view from a safe social distance.

— Virtual altar: Create a virtual space to honor lost loved ones. Share with family and friends via email or social media.

— Cemetery visits: If you visit the cemetery, only visit with those you live with, wear masks and maintain appropriate social distancing. Limit time spent to minimum necessary.


In general, the more people from different households with whom a person interacts, the closer the physical interaction is, and the longer the interaction lasts, the higher the risk that a person with COVID-19 infection — symptomatic or asymptomatic —may spread it to others. Trick-or-treating without necessary modifications promotes congregating and mixing of many households, particularly on crowded doorsteps, which can increase the spread of COVID-19. That type of mixing is not permitted in California. 

Additionally, if there is a positive case discovered, it is very challenging to do appropriate contact tracing to identify all those who have been potentially exposed.

To protect yourself and your community, you should not go trick-or-treating or mix with others outside allowed private gatherings this Halloween season.

For more information, visit the CDPH website at


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