OPINION: A Halloween to Remember


Nicole Degand

It can still be possible to celebrate Halloween in a pandemic climate. We just have to make smart and safe decisions. Graphic by Hailey Stessman/The Gateway

We all have that one Halloween night that sticks out in our head the most. For me, it was when I was 10. I had my birthday party on Halloween. Growing up, my mom would go all out for Halloween. In fact we might have been the only house on the street with all sorts of decorations: spider webs, fog, skeleton bones in her garden, different colored lights—the whole deal. For dinner we would have a ‘human brain’ (aka meatloaf), witches’ fingers (green beans and almonds). She made it memorable besides the trick or treating and dressing up as your favorite Disney princess or superhero that year.

We would meet up with neighborhood kids and hit the houses. No matter what the circumstances, whether it was cold and we had to wear coats, or it snowed and we had to wear snow pants with our costumes over, we would trick or treat. We made it a tradition to go to the pumpkin patch with her friends and all the kids. They knew how to adapt to the changes, the weather, no matter what so nothing would be too different for the kids. They could enjoy what kids love the most: being kids.

2020 has been a difficult year from the start. In January, COVID-19 was a small thought in our heads, few understanding how bad it would actually become. With cities and states going into lockdown, thousands feared for their safety and health of their families. With holidays coming around the corner and coming into our eighth month of a series of lockdowns and mandates, we need to focus on getting life back to the way it was.

Many young kids don’t understand what is going on or why they can’t see their friends. Why take away their childhood any more than we have? There are plenty of ways that we can celebrate Halloween with our younger generation. No, traditions may not be exactly the same, but it is possible. Vala’s Pumpkin Patch is open and is allowing families to come and enjoy it with safety precautions like requiring face masks indoors or when distancing isn’t an option, and only allowing cash at the admission window. This is one thing like many that is affected by COVID-19, but the Vala’s community found a way to make it work.

Another tradition that some retired living facilities have is allowing a day for children to come trick or treat and visit residents. Due to health risks this would not be possible but why not allow children to walk outside and around the buildings without handing out candy? This could allow for our grandparents and men and women who may not have much family to still enjoy a tradition without the worry of the risks.

There are ways to allow for a safe and fun Halloween season without canceling a day many children look forward to throughout the year. Require masks, wear gloves when handing out candy, be creative and let children still enjoy a celebration where they can dress up and be whoever they want to be for a night.

I think it is important to show kids that we as the older generation can adapt to changes and how to handle things the right way instead of teaching them to fear everything.