On Her Own

Halloween In the Time of Covid

Happy Halloween! Whether or not you have kids or celebrate the occasion, Halloween is certainly a holiday that will touch your life in some way. This year is a little different from most, and not just because of the full moon and the end of this year’s daylight savings time making the night extra long. Thanks to COVID and political unrest in various parts of the country, there are some safety concerns beyond the normal problems that can come with wandering around at night, in costumes, to get candy from strangers. But I’d argue that some of how we change our plans this year aren’t such bad ideas for other years too.

Opting out of trick or treating or Halloween partying is certainly one solution. You’ll decrease potential exposure to viruses and violence both. They can be fun, but they aren’t mandatory. I know it can be especially tough when there are kids involved who want to do what their friends are doing, but that’s not all of us. You can, in fact, turn off the lights and not hand out candy (or just leave a bowl at the front door), and say no to the invitations to go out. Does it make you less fun? I guess maybe? Might it be a good idea for your safety, not to mention your personal stress levels? Quite possibly, and that’s more important.

You can do a smaller event just in your immediate neighborhood or only with people you know. It’s easier to know if those folks have the same level of risk tolerance you do for germs and whether they’ll bring other forms of trouble with them. Seeing as we’re headed into the regular cold and flu season at this time of year, I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing whether or not there are global pandemics and controversial politics in play. Plus by staying ultra-local, you’ll have more time to get to know your neighbors better, and that’s never bad even if you don’t end up as close friends. After all, nobody is better situated to see if there are suspicious strangers trying to get into your home, or to keep an eye out for packages when you’re traveling.

Virtual gatherings are always an option. Nothing is stopping you from putting on a costume and getting in front of a video camera to enjoy time with friends, and you’ll get to include the ones who you would normally have to travel to see. Plus you can use filters to “dress up” without nearly as much hassle as the real thing! Is it the same as partying in person? Definitely not. Can you still carve pumpkins, have a few cocktails, even watch a scary movie together? Absolutely. And maybe when the world returns back to something approaching normal, you’ll want to do it this way anyway because your best friend lives two time zones away and with a Zoom party, you can see them more often.

Then again, I completely understand wanting to go all in on the usual ways of enjoying Halloween. To the extent things are open, why not? You can make your mask part of your costume, use hand sanitizer liberally, observe curfew restrictions, and stay away from known current trouble spots. Now that you’re thinking more about your personal protection, maybe you’ll also add making sure you can easily see and run in your costume, bringing along a good flashlight or two, and keeping your pepper spray accessible. And of course, you’ll also be sure to tell someone your plans, including how you’ll get home safely. More troubles in the world mean more practice working through how to be prepared for them, and that habit will serve you well regardless of what’s going on.

Me, I think I’m going to be pretty low key this year because I’ve got too much else going on. You?

Hi, I'm Annette.

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