Halloween survives COVID-19

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Riverside residents admire a Halloween-decorated house on the intersection of Magnolia Avenue and Chapman Place just south of Riverside City College. (Amairani Romero | Viewpoints)
By Neyra Rodriguez

In previous years, people would party with their friends and family on Halloween night.

Some people would stay home, with a bowl of popcorn and a bucket of candy, and enjoy a Halloween movie marathon. But most children preferred dressing up in their favorite costumes and going trick-or-treating.

Unfortunately, many children will not get to hit the streets on the search for candy this year because of COVID-19. Although many people will be staying Oct. 31, some risk-takers will be out there trick-or-treating and partying. Others will defy health officials’ advice by handing out candy. 

When celebrating this season, it is imperative to implement certain regulations to lower the risk of spreading the virus.  

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, when planning to host a holiday celebration, you should assess current COVID-19 levels in your community to determine whether to postpone, cancel or limit the number of attendees. 

When trick-or-treating, the CDC recommends avoiding direct contact, giving out treats outdoors, setting up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take, washing hands before handling treats and wearing a mask.

“Riverside keeps going backwards,” said Marina Garrison, a Riverside City College student. “It is not the best idea for kids to go trick-or-treating, but I think there are alternatives for little kids to still enjoy Halloween.” 

Although Halloween will be different, there are some good alternatives to keep things fun and interesting.

The CDC suggests activities such as decorating your home, pumpkin carving with members of your household or outside with neighbors or friends, and walking from house to house, admiring Halloween decorations at a distance.

Garrison proposed that small businesses, like ice cream shops, set up events where children could come in dressed in costumes and get free food or candy. In order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, Garrison said parents can set up Halloween activities for children at home instead of going out trick-or-treating from house to house.

Kelsey-Sue Klocksieben, another RCC student, argued that people are becoming frustrated as Halloween approaches. 

“People already miss social interaction and they miss a life without restrictions,” she said. “They are becoming antsy. They are also beginning to disregard social distancing guidelines and mask-wearing just so they can get a taste of what normality feels like.” 

If not for the disregard for social distancing guidelines, Klocksieben said people may have been allowed to have small Halloween get-togethers. 

“As much as we want things to go back to normal, they aren’t going to go back anytime soon,” she said. “We have to accept that and find other methods to entertain ourselves during Halloween.” 

COVID-19 has not only changed things for trick-or-treaters and party-goers.

Khari “Big Kass” Butler is a haunted house actor and has been scaring people since he was in elementary school. This year he will be performing at the Victoria Manor Haunted House. Admission is $10.

“Those of you who are brave enough will come see Big Kass before Halloween,” he said.     

All in all, Halloween is about more than just ghouls and goblins. It’s about spending time with your loved ones and creating memories that will last a lifetime. If you’re going out, be safe.

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