Even during a pandemic, students find time to celebrate Halloween

Loy+Norrix+senior+Katie+Kutzko+stands+in+front+of+one+of+several+Halloween+decorations+that+were+placed+throughout+her+yard+to+create+a+fun+and+spooky+atmosphere%2C+as+she+and+her+family+handed+out+candy.

Photo by Kim Kutzko

Loy Norrix senior Katie Kutzko stands in front of one of several Halloween decorations that were placed throughout her yard to create a fun and spooky atmosphere, as she and her family handed out candy.

Zoe Naylor, News Editor

One of my favorite times of year has always been the month of October.  The weather gets colder, the days get longer, and I get to break out my coziest sweaters. However, my absolute favorite thing about this time of year is getting to celebrate Halloween with my friends and family. 

This year though has been markedly different from years past. With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping people six feet apart, it was made readily apparent that we couldn’t celebrate like usual. 

“I normally have friends over on Halloween,” said senior Katherine Kutzko. “But this year I did not. I called people but we were not able to do anything in person. People, including myself, were more hesitant to go to or hold parties, since it isn’t safe to do.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household poses low risk for spread. In-person gatherings pose varying levels of risk. Event organizers and attendees should consider the risk of virus spread based on event size and use of mitigation strategies.”

This Halloween, trick or treaters were made to wear a different kind of mask, and Halloween parties, a staple of the holiday for teenagers, became relegated to the outdoors or the internet. While many students couldn’t get together or celebrate like they would have wanted to, they were often able to find creative workarounds. 

“Normally, my family decorates the house for Halloween,” said Kutzko. “We still decorated this year, but did a smaller area and did not do the graveyard. In order to hand out candy safely, we set up a table over six feet away from our front door and put candy in bags. Kids would walk up to the table and grab a bag, we sanitized after each group. I sat outside with a mask on when people arrived to get candy to keep safe.”

Halloween though is not just about getting together with friends or eating candy until you’re sick, and this year many elected to stay home and enjoy All Hallows’ Eve in a different manner. 

“For Halloween, I made a costume to match my nephews, then me and a few family members went to a small get together so my nephews would still have some holiday. Rather than risking trick-or-treating, we got tons of small candy bags and hid them around the property as a sort of Easter egg hunt for candy,” said senior Nicholas Fries. 

According to the article “Halloween 2020: Stay inside this Halloween with your household, doctors say” by Jacqueline Howard and Katia Hetter of CNN, “Only 12% of US households will go trick-or-treating this year, versus 24% who went in 2019, according to a new Spotlight on Education survey from NORC at the University of Chicago. One in four families said they are still going to give out candy this year, down significantly from last year’s 38% rate. Most people who celebrate will carve pumpkins or watch scary movies at home.” 

Even though many felt less comfortable participating in the ways they typically would, the spirit of Halloween still haunted most households. 

“I was just as willing to celebrate my favorite holiday as I am every year, I just had a harder time finding a plan that was safe and enjoyable,” said Fries. 

As November blows by, Thanksgiving approaches, and with it are increased concerns about how to safely engage in tradition. Many students and their families are going to have to determine what’s best for their household. 

“My family has not started planning for Thanksgiving, but I suspect we will keep it virtual and stick to calling relatives over Zoom instead of them coming to Michigan,” said Kutzko.