Halloween Amid a Pandemic

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Pixabay and Freepik

Halloween will definitely be different from past Halloween celebrations that we’ve done before.

Lily G., Audrey C., and Nisreen M.

Clusters of kids line up, each with the intent to bite into an apple, all in an effort to collect as many as possible. Others run from door to door loudly proclaiming their ‘Trick or Treat’ in hopes of a small pile of candy. Ironically, the biggest trick of 2020, COVID-19, that prevents Halloween from happening. There may be few Halloween parties, little ringing of doorbells, shuttered haunted houses, and absolutely no bobbing for apples. The usual chills and thrills of Halloween have vanished as a result of the pandemic, causing most to wonder if Thanksgiving and Christmas are next. How are we supposed to enjoy the spooky season of the year with a deadly virus on our hands? 

One replacement may be “trunk or treating.” People move from trunk to trunk of students’ vehicles receiving candy, instead of knocking on neighborhood doors. Along with local churches and other schools, Day Creek Intermediate is also holding a trunk or treat this year. Kids will be able to drive by the school and receive treats from various decorated vehicles from a candy chute or grabber.

“We wanted to do something and work with the parents in PTSO (Parent Teacher Student Organization) so we started looking at the [COVID-19] guidelines and what we could still do. Other schools were doing a drive-thru trunk or treat so we piggybacked off that idea and went with that,” said Mr. Apodaca, the principal of Day Creek Intermediate School.

There are many other ways people are celebrating Halloween this year, but if one thing is certain, the well-known holiday will surely be unlike any other. 

“I think (Halloween is) going to be different because of the physical distancing, so I think people are going to be much more cautious about going out to trick or treat in groups [or] people’s homes. People that are handing out candy are going to be more cautious as well. Hopefully most people are masked. It’s going to be different because the coronavirus has not gone away yet,” said Dr. Kanchwala, a local pediatrician. 

This year’s Halloween won’t include the same activities that were typical of each. Any gathering of large groups of people is strongly discouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People will have to be very cautious about their usual Halloween activities. 

“So I hope there is no more bobbing for apples, [which] sounds like a terrible idea. People will need to be very cautious because we should still be physically distancing. Halloween parties [are okay] if they are outdoors and practice good physical distancing. I don’t know if there are still going to be haunted houses unless they figure out a way to hold it outside.” said Dr. Kanchwala. 

Halloween recommendations this year reflect “zones” advised by the Harvard Global Health Institute. These tiers reflect green, yellow, orange and red regions, reflecting varying levels of COVID19. 

According to ABC27 News, different colors reflect levels of safe activity: 

  • Green: Normal trick or treating with standard social distancing. Small parties with close friends are okay
  • Yellow: Trick or treating is still possible with safety protocols. Partygoers should wear face masks indoors.
  • Orange: “Trick or treat in reverse!” Kids can get dressed up and hang out in their front yards, and neighbors can deliver candy to kids. Parties should be outdoors with social distancing guidelines followed.
  • Red: Trick or treating is not recommended. Instead, plan Zoom or Netflix parties, and set up candy stations inside or outside of the house for kids to discover throughout the night.

As of October 15, San Bernardino County is currently within the orange tier. 

While this may be hard for kids to swallow, few have given much thought to the effect on retailers this Halloween. Are business owners gaining or losing sales? Are people buying more or fewer costumes? Some businesses thrive, reaching peak sales during the Halloween season.  How is this affected during an international pandemic?

“People are still buying costumes, but because of (the pandemic), people want to decorate more than dress up. At first, we were losing sales, but with the cost difference, with a lot of the props compared to the costumes, we’re making sales,” said Katie, the assistant manager of Halloween Express. 

With the risk of COVID, it’ll be imperative that revelers wear masks on Halloween. But they shouldn’t take away the fun of dressing up.

“We have a very extensive mask section in our Halloween store because we’re private owned. We’re not part of a franchise like (the store) Spirit (Halloween]). A lot of the masks that we have are either made to be a part of costumes that we have, sold separately, or made to build the costume around. We have a lot of masks and we’ve been seeing people wanting this year because you already have to wear masks (underneath),” Katie said. 

Even though Halloween will be unique this year, it will still be celebrated with the same amount of joy and excitement.