Halloween in the Times of a Pandemic

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Photo Taken From geico.com

A pumpkin sits on a staircase while wearing a mask. This Halloween has been greatly affected due to COVID-19. Classic Halloween events like haunted houses and trick-or-treating are not recommended to help stop transmissions of COVID-19.

October 31st: Halloween night, the one time a year when ghoulish ghosts and monsters come alive. Typically children would be dressed up in costumes, running around neighborhoods trick-or-treating, spending time with friends and family or possibly summoning the spirits of the dearly departed. However, with the outbreak of COVID-19, Halloween night has changed from a no holds barred night of reverie to a sanitized and contactless virtual shadow of the real mischief night. 

To help the community stay safe this Halloween, San Diego county officials and the CDC have released guidelines for Halloween this year. Some of the usual Halloween activities, such as Halloween parties, carnivals, festivals and other live entertainment are not permitted due to the County of San Diego’s Public Health Order, which limits social gatherings to groups of no more than ten and consists of family.

Other classic Halloween activities like trick-or-treating and haunted houses, while not banned, are not recommended either. 

The Carlsbad pumpkin patch remains open for the community to visit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pumpkin patch has many fun games for families to enjoy, such as a corn maze, tractor rides, and a soon to come “Field of Screams”.
(Photo Taken From visitcarlsbad.com)

“We know that’s really hard… things like going into a haunted house where it’s enclosed and you would be near other people who are screaming, which then admits more virus if you’re screaming or yelling, those types of things are probably not a great idea this year,” said Communications and Engagement Director of Carlsbad, Kristina Ray.

The county has also released alternative activities for this Halloween, including Halloween movie nights and visiting pumpkin patches. The city will also sponsor virtual  Halloween events

“The city is going to be having some virtual events, we’re going to have some crafts and activities for kids to do, we’ll have some videos and some ways to engage the community, but it’s pretty much all virtual, just because we don’t want to do anything that could inadvertently cause the spread of COVID,” Ray added.

 Rachael Shay, the Recreational Supervisor for Special Events will be hosting one of the live Halloween events on Oct. 23.

“We show you step-by-step directions on hosting a household Halloween party for the people in your family… we have one video that is about 14 minutes long and there are different sections of the video, so there’s this whole section on decorations and then there’s a section on appetizers, entrees, and desserts,” Shay said. 

All hope is not lost, maybe not everything about Halloween has to change. Ray believes that the key to saving Halloween in this very unprecedented year is creativity.  

“You can still have kids dress up, they can still have that creative fun of deciding what they’re going to be, maybe this year they make their costume because that’s something that can also keep them busy, but really it’s a chance to be creative.”

Math teacher, Susan Woolley dresses as Cruella de Vil to stay in the spirit of Halloween. Woolley has been dressing up in different costumes everyday for her students while in distance learning. (Photo Courtesy of Susan Woolley)

 She went on to say that residents can still share our unique ideas and get in the Halloween spirit through various social media platforms. 

Despite all the circumstances of Halloween this year, the Sage Creek community is still trying their hardest to get into the spirit. Math teacher Susan Woolley personally has an immense amount of love for Halloween.

“I’m disappointed because Halloween is a big part of our house, we decorate all out, we love doing the costumes, so we’re kinda bummed that we may or may not actually have a Halloween.” 

However, to stay in the spirit of Halloween, Woolley has decided to dress up every day in class for her students and, “invites everyone to join [her] in virtual Halloween.” 

English teacher Melissa Barry, has decorated her house with “Welcome Foolish Mortals” themed from the DisneyLand ride, “Haunted Mansion”. Barry hopes to get into the spirit of Halloween and have fun despite the COVID-19 circumstances. (Photo Courtesy of Melissa Barry)

English teacher Melissa Barry has also been trying her hardest to take part in some COVID-19 safe Halloween activities.

“The students know that I’m super into Halloween [and] I’m a big fan of Disney. I’m very sad that this is the first year that we can’t do the Disneyland parties like the Mickey party or the Oogie Boogie party… but we decorated our entire house Disney Halloween themed… and I plan on dressing up and then kinda being inspired by Mrs. Woolley, I can’t do what she’s doing but the whole week leading up to Halloween I want to do a different themed costume [like her].” 

Barry eagerly anticipates sharing her various costumes and coveted Haunted Mansion memorabilia with her students online. She has also been trying to help students find safe ways to celebrate the holiday. She has encouraged her students to look up online where to find drive-thru candy spots this year. 

She suggests students “can go together in a carpool and go to some of these spots they’re pretty amazing and there are really cool neighborhoods that still go all out.” 

Barry also loves to see that local businesses are decorating their restaurants and shops in light of the pandemic. 

There are many alternatives for this Halloween despite the circumstances, including, carving pumpkins, watching scary movies, summoning the spirits, making caramel apples and other festive treats and even possibly playing an online scary game with friends. People can even keep in contact with others this holiday by sharing their creative costumes on different social media platforms such as, Instagram and Facebook. Regardless of restrictions, communities can adapt to the pandemic and experience one of the most spooky Halloweens in living memory.