Spooky season is officially upon us. But what does that mean during the time of COVID-19? Zoom Halloween Parties? Socially Distanced Trick-or-Treating? Virtual Haunted Houses? In this article, we’ll discuss it all, from expert and student opinions to crazy innovations.
Before we talk about the things that will change, let’s talk about the history of Halloween. The origin of Halloween is the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. Samhain was celebrated on the night of October 31st and November 1st and marked the beginning of winter. The Celts believed that on October 31st, ghosts would return to Earth. The Celts would burn sacred fires to ward off the evil spirits and Druids (Celtic priests) made predictions about the future. This night became known as All Hallows Eve, and eventually Halloween. Nowadays, Halloween is celebrated by kids trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, getting dressed in costumes, and going to parties.
But what does that mean now? As of writing this article, the CDC recently released a list of low, high, and moderate risk activities. Some high-risk activities include traditional trick-or-treating, indoor haunted houses, and crowded indoor costume parties. However, the CDC also shows alternatives to these activities such as outdoor, socially distanced parties and one-way trick or treating. If you would like to see the full list, check out the “Holiday Celebrations” page on the CDC’s coronavirus website.
Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases and health research and policy at Stanford Health Care states, “It’s very hard for me to figure out how you’re going to do the normal trick-or-treating, the normal Halloween.” Nevertheless, people are still encouraged to get in the holiday spirit. Many organizations, such as Six Flags, have changed their Halloween activities to be safe by limiting crowd size and enforcing social distancing practices.
“If we can’t do what we used to do, what can we do as a substitute? I think we have to learn how to do it safely. We’re going to figure out how to do this responsibly.” states Gregg Gonsalves, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health.
What do CA students think about this? Mandy Adams ‘24 says; “Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays and because of the new COVID landscape this year, changes will have to be made for the safety of all.” 90% of CA students celebrate Halloween every year, and the majority of them usually participate in activities labelled as high risk for coronavirus transmission such as trick or treating or attending parties. However, many CA students also understand that changes will have to be made this year to flatten the curve. Angie Minichiello ’21 stated, “I think it [Halloween] is definitely a thing that could happen as long as we stay socially distant.”
So what are people doing about it? Well, people are already innovating to try to make this Halloween just as fun as years prior. For example, Andrew Beattie, an Ohio dad, set up a trick-or-treat chute made out of a six-foot PVC pipe to maintain social distancing. Beattie says of the chute, “This just seemed like a great way to take the things that the experts are saying… and to implement something that is cost-effective and something most people have in their garage or basement.” Another creative idea provided by a CA student was to put candy on stakes in their yard for kids to take.
Although we don’t know exactly what will happen this Halloween, it’s sure to be exciting no matter what you do. Even if it isn’t what we’re used to, I have hope that everyone will be able to make the most out of this crazy Halloween. Whether you decide to stay home and watch scary movies or try to trick or treat while socially distant, I hope you have an awesome spooky season. Stay safe, and Happy Halloween!