OPINION: COVID-19 may have taken away many things this year, but we can still have Halloween — as long as we stay mindful
Coconino Hall’s reception desk decorated for Halloween.
The past few months have been far from normal with millions of Americans still under quarantine and students attending class via Zoom. With Halloween quickly approaching, many are itching to regain some sort of normalcy from some time-honored traditions of the season, like trick-or-treating and parties with college students running around in scandalous costumes pretending the weather is warmer than it really is. With COVID-19 still running rampant in the U.S., many of us are left wondering what this holiday season will be like.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released guidelines on how to remain safe during this holiday season along with a ranking of holiday activities ranging from higher risk, moderate risk and lower risk. They note that the level of danger you could be exposed to is dependent on your area and location should be considered when understanding your safety.
Many experts agree that Halloween can happen this year, it will just need to look different than in years past. Generally, experts agree that open outdoor spaces where everyone is wearing a mask and able to distance are safe for activity. This stays true to the mantra the CDC has been voicing throughout the entire pandemic of wear a mask, avoid indoor activities and avoid large crowds.
This Halloween, try decorating pumpkins with the family, having a scary movie marathon and having a neighborhood costume parade. The CDC has listed a mass amount of holiday ideas for you and your family to celebrate while staying safe. Educate yourself on what is safe and figure out what works best for you.
Trick-or-treating, the cornerstone of the American Halloween, will have to operate a little differently this year. To stay safe, avoid candy bowls with the suggested ‘please take one’ sign and knocking on neighbors’ doors altogether. Instead opt for placing individually wrapped goodie bags in the front yard or end of the driveway, remember to wash your hands before and after devouring the tasty treats you have gathered and for parents, encourage children to wear gloves and carry hand sanitizer, as well as wearing their mask.
Please note, costume masks are not a sufficient replacement for your approved multi-layered cloth or disposable mask. Avoid layering a costume mask over a cloth mask as it may cause breathing to become restricted. Get creative and work your mask into your costume, you could be a doctor or maybe a ninja; the possibilities are endless.
Avoid high-risk activities as they could be putting yourself and those around you in danger. Stay away from crowded indoor gatherings, particularly indoor haunted attractions. Potentially confined spaces where attendees will be screaming could lead to the easy spread of COVID-19. If attending a Halloween event, be sure you and other attendees keep masks on and can maintain safe spacing.
Avoid traveling outside of your area or coming in contact with someone from outside your community. The severity of the outbreak varies from town to town, and traveling could be placing yourself at greater risk. Traveling between communities, regardless if precautions are taken, is a prominent cause of the condition of super spreaders.
The CDC highlights that the use of drugs or alcohol is considered a "high-risk activity". Using these substances could alter your judgment and lead you to partake in more risky behaviors.
In such chaotic and abnormal times, there is a pressing need to regain some sort of normalcy in our lives. As the holiday season approaches, do your part and learn how to celebrate and have fun while protecting yourself and your community. You can, and should, partake in holiday festivities, as keeping happy is a major aspect of staying healthy. Evaluate your risk factors and figure out what is best for you and your family this spooky season. Remember, the more we all work as a collective towards keeping each other safe, the sooner we will be able to return to normal.
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Lauren is a political science major. She is from Baltimore.