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Trick or Treat? How to Navigate Halloween During a Pandemic

Olivia Faulkner’22

Social Media & Marketing Director

The novel coronavirus has spooked 37 states across the country into rethinking Halloween events. Are you a fan of going to Salem, Massachusetts, this time of year for an extra scary and historic experience? I hate to break the news, but those fun experiences have been cancelled this year.

“I do love going to Salem, but I avoid it during October anyway. I usually go late September to soak up the spooky vibes, but avoid the crowds,” said Melissa Zimdars, who is the Faculty Advisor for The Beacon “So, this year isn’t much different for me except for generally doing more outdoor things, such as walking in cemeteries and going to drive-in horror movies.” 

In Massachusetts, trick-or-treating is discouraged by Governor Charlie Baker. It is up to individual communities on how they wish to proceed given the circumstances of COVID-19. Merrimack College decided to  cancel Halloween traditions this year, such as having children from the North Andover area trick or treat in the dorms. The town of Sutton, Massachusetts, is permitting trick or treating as long as residents follow COVID rules, such as social distancing, no large gatherings, frequent hand washing, and of course, a chance to show off a spooky mask, which is not optional.

These are not the safest conditions to trick or treat in, and Charlie Baker has done a phenomenal job of keeping Massachusetts residents informed about the risks associated with continuing this tradition this year. If a family feels safe enough to go and isn’t at imminent risk by taking their children out for this fun night, by all means there is nothing to stop them given the town they reside in is allowing it and they follow the COVID laws. However, if someone is feeling ill, or has an underlying illness or is an elder, this decision should be reconsidered. There are safer options to celebrate the holiday that will not put loved ones in danger. 

So, what should my family do instead of trick-or-treating?

Luckily, many suburban towns have large backyards with fire pits. Gather your children with a few of their closest friends and their parents, to keep it at legal capacity, and tell spooky stories, or move around the circle to collect candy from each family. Spookiness can still be fun even while socially distanced. Don’t forget to match your mask to your costume. 

Another option l is filling a Halloween basket with candy and video-calling your friends and sharing stories about “Halloween’s past” to relive the experiences of past years and create a new Halloween memory. Everyone can have the opportunity for be a part of this unique Halloween. Kids can still dress up and show off their cool costume to their friends, just in a different way. 

Another alternative: town trick or treat through mail! Know some families who typically pop by your door in a different Marvel costume each year? Mail the child’s favorite candy to their home and parent’s can have them open up this cool surprise on Halloween! 

College students: Although this is typically your favorite time to throw a rager, think again. Throw a small party with your roommates. You can still dress up and take pictures to get that same excitement as you did as a kid. Keep it limited to who lives in your room, and stay in and watch your favorite Halloween movies with a cold glass of apple cider, and add a spritz to it if you’re 21 or over! If you want to head “out,” do so safely and attend a socially distant event that is sponsored by the school.

Remember, if you’re heading out to keep your mask on so Merri doesn’t have to angrily bark at you and embarrass you in front of your friends! Stay safe this Halloween, everyone, and mask up!