Halloween during the era of COVID-19


Adam Mercer, Reporter

Halloween is traditionally celebrated with festivities, such as costume parties and trick-or-treating, that bring large amounts of people into close contact with each other. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic posing more of a threat to America than ever before (nearly 100,000 cases were confirmed in the country on October 30th – a new record for the United States), it was clear that the holiday would need to be handled much differently in 2020 in order to minimize the spread of the virus. What sort of measures were taken for Halloween this year, and how well did they work?

Due to its reputation as the quintessential Halloween activity, trick-or-treating would need to be modified rather than flat-out erased in order to preserve the spirit of the holiday. How would children receive their candy while practicing social distancing? Many solutions varying in creativity and style were created. DIY candy chutes were among the most popular methods of dishing out sweets, the instructions for crafting them appearing in hundreds of publications across the country. Other people took trick-or-treating to the next level by building homemade trebuchets and catapults to launch candy from the safety of their homes. A more practical – albeit less entertaining – approach was to scatter small bags of candy across the front lawn for kids to pick up at their leisure; not very impressive, but with our current state of affairs, who can complain?

There were also several Halloween activities that didn’t require heavy COVID-19 protocol. The Avila Valley Barn, for instance, opened its annual pumpkin patch to visitors earlier this fall, with precautions such as mandatory masks and social distancing in place. Other pumpkin patches around the country hosted “drive-through” Halloween events to be enjoyed from the comfort of one’s car. These drive-throughs included free candy, illuminated “jack-o-lantern tunnels”, and spooky decorations, providing a pleasant night of wholesome fun, free of any worries regarding COVID-19, to families across America.

That isn’t to say that every single American observed Halloween with the careful, intricate precision that’s demanded by our current circumstances. An embarrassing number of people, guided by the same dull wits and violent stupidity responsible for getting us knee-deep in this mess in the first place, decided to celebrate Halloween. With an abnormally large indifference for the well-being of themselves and others; a party in Utah with over 10,000 people in attendance was held in violation of state orders requiring social distancing and masks, and recent surges in COVID-19 cases at the University of Tennessee and Texas A&M are being credited to off-campus parties. 

It’s becoming increasingly clear that people in the United States are quickly growing tired of living in the boundaries set by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though we may be done with the virus, it is far from being done with us; the country has confirmed over a million new cases of COVID-19 over the past two weeks. With Halloween gatherings being responsible for a significant number of these recent infections, the question remains of how Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations will impact an already-struggling America…