We get it. We’re over the pandemic, too. As many of our cities have eased restrictions, it’s become easier to feel more relaxed and less concerned. And with Halloween on a Saturday, we went into 2020 seeing the perfect opportunity for a party. But with a potential third wave around the corner as we enter the holiday season, it’s critical we remain conscientious and responsible about the social and physical precautions our pandemic demands. Here are some ways we are trying to be safe this season, and we encourage you to consider them too.
We don’t know who needs to hear this, but in the interest of public health, we should all stay away from the temptation to throw a full-out Halloween party, or a gathering of friends and family members who we don’t live with where not everyone is wearing masks or practicing social distancing, which could easily turn into a “superspreader” event. Nobody is in love with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) precautions still being necessary, but with more than 8,553,827 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. at the time of print, our ongoing pandemic is not just background noise; it’s one during which we need to actively work to mitigate potential harm. Despite memories we may have of gathering during these past several months, it is essential we continue to take the pandemic seriously by reducing how often, and how many, people are in a space together.
That said, we, too, have been losing our minds in social isolation, so if you’ve grown impatient with not being able to see your friends or if it’s important to you to celebrate Halloween socially, we suggest you do so with your “social bubble.” You may remember this concept from a few months back — the idea that the people you are spending time with (a small group, preferably) are the only people everyone in the bubble is spending time with. According to Per Block, an Oxford sociologist who has done research on social bubbles, these “quaranteams” are effective at mitigating the spread of COVID-19 while allowing people to still socialize. If you’ve been meeting up with friends who are outside of your bubble, it’s vital that you regularly get tested for COVID-19.
Some of us will be spending Halloween in our hometowns with our families, so if you’re in that boat, consider how you can bring some cheer to your neighborhood’s youth. While we have memories from our childhood of running down neighborhood streets, buckets filled to the brim with candy, our costume snug around us, kids growing up in the pandemic are experiencing a very different reality than we did at their age. They attend grade school on Zoom, and they have to wear masks with their friends on playdates. Hopefully, if they dress up, they will be able to incorporate a mask into their costume — in fact, we all can. Dress up at home with your families, and have a photoshoot. To provide the trick-or-treating experience for the kids whose families choose to go out Oct. 31, set out a bowl of prepackaged goodie bags or candy for costumed neighborhood kids.
Ultimately, how you celebrate Halloween is your decision, but it’s essential to remember that your decisions affect others. We at the Foghorn will be celebrating inside, eating ourselves sick with candy, watching movies, and maintaining our social bubbles. And we still plan to have fun!