Halloween… Covid Style

How to be safe his Halloween

A typical Halloween brings giant waves of children, traveling in schools like fish through the streets. Dressed up as Elsa, Captain America, or other pop culture icons, they flood doorways, tightly pushing past each other for early picks and to be the first to yell “Trick or Treat!”  Children run through neighborhood lawns racing for the fullest pillow case of candy, and gather late at night to trade Reese’s cups for starbursts.

Head to your local grocery store to pick up a carving kit, its easier than ever to get creative for Halloween.

The origins of Halloween come from an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain, which marked November 1 as the end of harvesting and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year. The Samhain festival, being on October 31, was the night before the new year, and the boundary between the living and the dead narrowed. Halloween essentially started with the belief that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. As the Catholic church was taking Europe my storm, they began to frown upon pagan rituals like Samhain, so the Vatican took over the holiday and called it “All Saints Day” or “Hallowmas.” The eve of Hallowmas gradually morphed into the iconic ‘Halloween.’

When the wave of Irish immigrants came to America during the potato famine, so did the traditions of Halloween. Young Irish children would play tricks on neighbors during Halloween and wear masks or disguises to hide their identity. Eventually a compromise began of the neighbors offering treats in exchange for the children not to play tricks on them and their homes. Now a days, the “treat” is given without a thought of what trickery children of the past had up their sleeves.

Though Halloween has been a tradition for many families for hundreds of years, this year is different. Covid has seemed to dull the fun of the upcoming Halloween. You could just let covid guidelines force you to put your Halloween plans on hold, or you can rise to the occasion and work with what you can do.

First of all, let’s address the elephant in the room: parties or large gatherings this Halloween are a no-no. But even with parties being off-limits, there are still some fun alternatives available to would-be revelers.

Check if a younger family member needs a trick-or-treating chaperone, that way you can not only spice up your night with a costume of your own, but you can also walk the streets and make sure kids and parents are wearing their masks. Macy Brenegan, the oldest sibling of 4, is likely to watch her youngest sibling, Lily, and her friends on Halloween.

Red boxes every where have a selection of moves fit for a Halloween night in.

Having a costume contest on Halloween night is anther idea. Maybe even select a category and a price maximum. Then, either hold the contest on zoom or as a gathering outside, maybe in one of your friends’ back yards. Of course, you’ll want to incorporate your mask into your costume.

Another great zoom option is a pumpkin carving contests, select the judges and the contenders, and have fun in a covid-worry-free way.  And even if you don’t have a zoom carving contest, carving pumpkins at home is a must, so ask your family if they want to join in on the decorating fun, make some snacks, and get carving. Rachel Pitts, a 17 year old Lafayette high school student, shared her Halloween plans, saying, “My sister is coming into town, we will probably have a night of carving pumpkins and watching movies.”

There is always the option of doing a classic scary movie night. Ask your family if they want to make some spooky themed snacks–Pinterest can be a trusty inspiration source. Then gather around, dim the lights, and turn on a scary movie. When asked about her Halloween plans, Gracie Moore, Lafayette high school senior and the only child left of her sibling still living at home, said that she will be “spending the night with her family watching Coraline and eating out of a big bag of candy.” Many like Gracie will be enjoying a cozy night in on Halloween.

While its going to be hard not to get carried away with the fun of Halloween, it’s important to remember that lifestyle changes are a small price to pay for keeping your community safe. Even though Halloween is a special night to a lot of us, we have to think of others before we go to a party or a packed restaurant. The more effort we put into controlling the case numbers, the more likely we will be able to celebrate Halloween next year the right way!