OPINION: tis’ the season for quarantine


Hailey Stessman

COVID-19 will not disappear for the holiday season. Now is the time to quarantine and make smart decisions. Graphic by Hailey Stessman/The Gateway

On Halloween night, I was in full costume in a poor portrayal of Lydia Deetz, played by Winona Ryder, from “Beetlejuice”, eating Almond Joys and Kit Kats until my stomach could take no more. The full moon was visible from my window, and I could see the shadows of leaves falling from trees; it was a beautiful night to enjoy Halloween. But thankfully, I wasn’t alone. I was joined by four of my best friends; all of whom dressed up in costume. Throughout the Halloween evening we played games that tested our wits, sipped on warm autumnal beverages and read each other’s tarot cards for the next lunar cycle. When the festivities were starting to wind down and farewells were uttered, I realized how long it had been since I had laughed that hard. As the spooky season transitioned into November at the stroke of midnight, I was content to say that my Halloween night was successful.

Now you may be wondering, “Were you all wearing masks? We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Why are you celebrating with friends? Were you social distancing?” Or, perhaps you aren’t wondering that at all, and I simply judged you with a certain degree of optimism.

I left out a key detail: We were all in different states. My Halloween costume party was held over Zoom with the many games we played made possible through the feature of screen-sharing. Usually my Halloween night would consist of a trip to Camp Fear in Elkhorn to watch a horror movie at the outdoor theater along with a gathering of friends over cider and Snickers. But this Halloween was spent indoors with my family, our own stash of candy, and the faces of my friends across the country.

And guess what? I had an amazing time.

When scrolling through social media the few days following Halloween, I was dumbfounded, yet not surprised, by the amount of people who attended or hosted large Halloween parties with friends. Granted, while there were those who were wearing masks and spaced six feet apart, there was a significant number of parties where there was not a single mask in sight. It made me angry to see so many people out and about partying despite the countless warnings to stay home during the holiday.

As of Nov. 7, there have been a total of 9,581,770 positive cases of coronavirus. On Nov 6., the United States broke a record with 126,480 new cases recorded in a single day.

I will never fully understand why people think it is acceptable to ignore the guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection to simply fulfill and satisfy their wants, including a Halloween party.

Was my virtual Halloween costume party fun? Yes! Would I have preferred it to be in person? Of course. But COVID-19 is not something to play down or overlook. Just because it was Halloween and you were throwing one party does not make you exempt from the effects of COVID-19. It can affect anyone. It is possible to connect with friends virtually and have an enjoyable time. It is not worth someone else’s life, or even your own, to throw an extravagant party and boast about it on Instagram.

The holiday season stretching from November to the beginning of January has arrived. Please learn from your mistakes and choose to opt out from celebrating holidays in person. It is crucial that we adapt to the pandemic, make sacrifices, and discover compromises. You can still have a holiday feast over Facetime and exchange gifts through the mail or dropping it off on a doorstep.

I think we can all agree that right now is not an ideal situation. But it is part of our responsibility as students, family members and friends to flatten the curve, especially during the holiday season.