Halloween should not be cancelled, but rather celebrated in a non-traditional way

Bryanna Portillo

October marks the beginning of “spooky season,” a term coined by Gen-Z to show our excitement for Halloween. Yet, with the recent events and the chaos of 2020, there are concerns over whether Halloween can be celebrated while maintaining public health guidelines. This year’s Halloween shouldn’t be skipped over. That Saturday can still make for the perfect Halloween, but it must be accompanied with the proper precautions.  

Like most of the country, I love Halloween. I get so excited when I see that Target has set up their Halloween section because it means my family and I can joke around by putting on the costume masks, but more importantly, it means the holiday is coming soon. As long as I can remember, I have always celebrated Halloween, either by trick or treating or going to a haunted attraction. Realizing that I might not be able to carry out my annual Halloween traditions is a sad reality I will not accept. 

2020 was rocked by the start of the spread of COVID-19 in late February and early March. As a nation, most of us have learned to adapt to the new masks-on lifestyle and keep our distance from others. This process has been lengthy and interrupted the festivities of some annual holidays and celebrations. As October 31 inches closer, we must come to understand that we will have to change how we execute Halloween this year. But change doesn’t mean it has to be boring, it will just be different. 

Traditionally, trick or treating is the main activity of Halloween. It gives kids the opportunity to dress up as their favorite princess or superhero and get free candy. It’s hard to predict if people will leave candy on their porches or sit outside with treats this year, waiting for happy kids. In the case that people are still participating, there lies a high risk of spreading the virus because there is no way to tell whether people are carriers or asymptomatic. Streets become crowded, meaning people won’t be six feet apart, and kids will inevitably spread germs as they dig through communal candy bowls. It’s important to keep everyone’s health a priority. This means staying home on Halloween. 

Staying home on Halloween isn’t the worst sacrifice we must make this year. Parents of children who still participate in trick or treating can host household-only activities like candy hunts or house decorating. Neighborhoods who celebrate Halloween together can have a friendly drive-through of their decorated houses to foster community. 

If you’re in your late teens, trick or treating isn’t usually a concern for you. However, your activities have probably been compromised too. Last year, my friends and I visited Markoff’s haunted forest, and it was really upsetting not being able to do the same this month. Although some haunted attractions, including Markoff’s Haunted Forest and Fright Fest, are still open, it seems unrealistic and almost impossible to participate safely during the pandemic. I decided to sit out and find other ways to celebrate Halloween this year. 

For one, COVID-19 will not stop me from putting on a costume. Dressing up has always made Halloween enjoyable and spirited. There is nothing harmful about dressing up as a fairy or an Among Us character, as long as we limit it to ourselves or small groups. With friends, try a group costume, or if you decide to stay home, get matching costumes with your pet. It’s important to remember that if you choose to go out on Halloween evening, continue practicing social distancing requirements.

There are other great activities to partake in this October to prepare us for the Halloween season. Streaming platforms have a Halloween section with a range of classic Halloween movies and creepy horror films. Snuggle up with a blanket in the dark and attempt to watch them alone, or if that’s not your thing, watch “The Nightmare Before Christmas” or “Coraline” with your family. Maybe go buy a pumpkin at the store or pick it out at a pumpkin patch. Express your creativity by painting or carving it. Both of these options are COVID-friendly and reintroduce fun to Halloween 2020.

COVID tried to rain on our parade. However, we must not let that get us down. Like many other events, people can always find a way to celebrate safely and manage to have a good time. Halloween 2020 will be different, but that doesn’t mean it’s cancelled. Enjoy the holiday but remember to stay safe and follow the city’s regulations so we can have a happy winter holiday season.