Halloween: A COVID-19 Holiday

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Judging by the cold weather and excessive amounts of pumpkin-flavored caffeine available, it is clear to see that Halloween is just around the corner. However, this Halloween brings something even scarier than the traditional ghosts and skeletons: COVID-19.

Sean Chen, a 12-year-old student at the Chadwick School in his trick-or-treating prime debated whether or not he is going to trick-or-treat this year.

Chen noted, “Well, I do [want to trick-or-treat], but I would rather like to keep people safe, and I feel like handing out large quantities of candy to people—even with wrappers and gloves and all of that—would not be safe because there are a lot of houses that people go to and that’s a lot of chances for Coronavirus.”

This rather mature perspective is echoed by both LA county and the CDC, as LA county has outright banned trick-or-treating, and the CDC’s website categorizes traditional trick-or-treating as a “higher risk activity.” 

Trick-or-treating is not the only item in the CDC’s sights, either. The public agency has also recommended against hay rides, costume parties, and haunted houses of most varieties. That list rules out many traditional Halloween festivities. Still, on a night like Halloween, people are going to celebrate, one way or another; the only question is how. 

Bowen Kim, a sophomore at Loyola, made it clear that, in light of the pandemic, he was going to adjust his Halloween activities. 

Kim stated, “I’ll probably just have a movie night with my family or hang out with a few of my friends, and then I’ll probably go buy candy instead of trick-or-treating.” 

Even if you are inclined to do more traditional Halloween events, the CDC has guidelines on how to make most of these activities safe. For example, a socially-distant haunted forest held outdoors in lieu of a haunted house, or an outdoor, masked, socially distanced costume party, though traditional Halloween masks are not interchangeable with actual masks designed for virus protection. 

Adapting to these new guidelines, however, may prove difficult, as many local businesses that usually provide these services, like pumpkin patches who host mazes or hay rides, have shut down for this year.

One such business is Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch, whose website states, “After careful thought and planning, we have realized we will not be able to open in any capacity in 2020 as we had hoped.”

Instead, it might be safer and easier to follow in Kim’s footsteps and find new forms of entertainment this October. This Halloween season could be the start of a new tradition among your friends and family. Consider the following Covid-safe celebrations: pumpkin carving with family, virtual costume contests, and—my personal favorite—the viewing of a Halloween-themed movie.

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