It’s the start of May, the furthest we get on the calendar from Halloween, and currently our cities – and much of our world – are shut down due to the novel coronavirus. It’s too early to say how much of a return to normalcy we might see by October. I’ve been giving some thought as to how different levels of quarantine would affect Halloween, and for all fans and creators of Halloween fun, it’s prudent to look forward cautiously, and consider what options we might have. There are four main scenarios I’d like to discuss.
Threat Level: Zombie
Green zombies: Yes a threat is there, but it’s slow. We’ve prepared; with reasonable precautions we can celebrate Halloween normally, with lots of big events and trick-or-treating. This might take the form of an earlier than expected safe and reliable vaccine or cure, or perhaps sufficiently massive & convenient testing, so that we can once again be near strangers without fear of infection.
No one can say how likely this is right now. It’s certainly not something I would bet my whole bag of candy on happening, but it’s certainly something we can hope for. Even in this scenario, however, some events would likely not happen due to lack of prep time in the months leading up to Halloween. For big events, venues must be reserved, and rehearsals must begin long before October, and with the future so uncertain, this might just not be prudent for many large events, and even some small ones.
Threat Level: Candycorn
Yellow candycorn: It’s a little waxy and small, not the giant chocolate bar you were hoping for, but it’s festive and traditional, so your Halloween is not ruined. In this scenario, many restrictions are still in place. Many events are not happening due to lack of prep time, and still more are not happening due to restrictions like social distancing. We won’t be having large costumed parties on the street, in bars, clubs, and other venues if we’re having to stay six feet apart. Some smaller Halloween parties might happen, but likely small gatherings of family and friends, not big public parties. Walk-through haunted houses would be unlikely, as large amount of people going through something open to the public may not be an option, and jump scares are less effective from six feet away. Some home haunts may still happen, but under social distancing conditions, attendance would likely be very low.
Now yard displays would still very much be in play under these conditions. Obviously, any display you can drive by or walk past while staying far from any other people would be fine, even some amount of getting close or walking through might be possible. Under these conditions, however, trick-or-treating would be radically altered, or perhaps not happen at all. Even bowls of candy in front of a house would get many hands in them over the course of a night, and that might be something many parents want to avoid.
Threat Level: Pumpkin
Orange pumpkins: They can look spooky from afar with their macabre faces, but before long they wilt and rot. Under this scenario, we can still leave our houses, but that’s about it. Things like walk-through haunts and parties would be completely forbidden, even with precautions. No large events of any type are taking place, door-to-door activities like trick-or-treating are fully canceled by every city. Decorated houses would be one of the few things we can enjoy, from the windows of cars or walking by on the sidewalk. These could involve actors who live in the home, but they would have to keep their distance from the public. Other than those, this will share a lot of similarities with our last scenario,
Threat Level: Sanguine
Red blood: An online-only Halloween. If the situation gets worse and even tighter restrictions are in place this October, there will still be options for seasonal fun. This is a worst-case scenario, in which there are no events of any kind, trick-or-treating is fully canceled everywhere, even small parties at home might be restricted to those who already live in the home. Still, try not to fear any more than is fun. Costumes can still be bought online, or made at home, and pictures can be shared with friends and the public through social media. You and your friends can get in costume and have a Halloween party on video chat. We could potentially send candy to loved ones, or even just buy some for our own families. Pumpkins will still have been grown and harvested, and however we’re getting groceries under these conditions, we can hopefully have a Jack-o-Lantern or two brighten our homes inside and out, and share pictures of them online. If I’m quarantined at home on Halloween, I certainly hope I can look out my windows and see Jack-o-Lanterns all over the neighborhood. Production delays in the movie and television industries mean there might not be many new spooky things to watch, but it’s a great time of year to revisit old favorites on your screen at home.
There’s a holiday coming up that might give you a chance to practice, or get in some early Halloween fun. June 22nd is Summerween, a summertime Halloween created by the show Gravity Falls. So just in case you can’t get as much Halloween as you hoped this October, take some time on June 22nd to dress up and share a picture of your Summerween costume online, carve a traditional Summerween watermelon, enjoy some of your favorite candy, and watch the Summerween episode of Gravity Falls.