Halloween in the Time of COVID

So the latest word that I’m hearing from the CDC is that kids should not be allowed to Trick-or-Treat this year. Apparently, the concern is that groups of kids going from house to house is an ideal way to spread the virus.

I am afraid I must differ with them. Not that I am one of those nutcases who thinks the disease is a hoax or not as bad as it is, but for other reasons.

The best way to slow if not stop the spread of the virus is to wear a proper face mask, right? What is the one thing the vast majority of Trick-or-Treaters (ToTs) will be wearing as they hit the sidewalks? Right! A MASK! Why not work a COVID-safe cloth mask into the costume? Come on, people! This should be a no-brainer!

Another thing that worries people is gathering in groups. The more people present, the more people who can catch the virus. That’s true. But I note that over the summer, the “superspreader events” have all been the ones where people weren’t following the mask-wearing protocols. And have you ever seen ToTs in groups of more than a dozen? They won’t be gathering in large numbers! Heck, I’ve seen bigger groups of parents and their kids at local playgrounds! There simply aren’t going to be huge mobs of virus spreaders running rampant in the streets.

So maybe you’re concerned about the ToTs digging into bowls of candy with their grubby, unwashed hands, and spreading the virus that way. Okay, that’s fair. But you know, there are these things called ‘salad tongs’, ‘barbecue tongs’, and ‘ladles’ that you can be used to pick up and distribute candy…..

So many ways to hand out candy!


What’s the alternative? Indoor parties – where any virus will spread much easier in the enclosed space? Those abominations known as “Trunk or Treat”, where you WILL have large groups of people gathering in the same place? At least with Trick or Treat, the kids will be OUTDOORS, which is obviously a well-ventilated space! And it’s so much easier to keep the six feet of distance from other groups of ToTs!

Look, ever since at least April, we’ve been told not to have any fun. The various ceremonies and rituals of life – graduations, weddings, etc. – were all drastically scaled back. Parades and other civic events like July 4th fireworks were canceled. Movie theaters and concert venues closed. Sporting events shut down, and if they reopened, it was without anyone in attendance. We can’t go on like this. We need a big social and cultural activity that we can enjoy as part of a community. We have to consider our psychological health as well as our physical. We have enough stress in our lives these days – let us play dress-up and go out and have a bit of fun!

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