People find alternative ways to celebrate Halloween during COVID-19


Maya Teng

Dan Teng celebrates Halloween by setting a carved pumpkin in his backyard.

Halloween is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year, with kids and adults alike eagerly awaiting tricks or treats they might receive. However, new circumstances stemming from COVID-19 regulations make the holiday different than normal.

Traditionally, Halloween involves in-person interaction with many different people. However, social distancing due to COVID-19 eliminates the possibility of close contact. Celebrating Halloween has posed a challenge to many people, especially in the virtual classroom environment.

“I feel really bad for the young kids because so much of what they do is based socially. All of the holidays are about being around others and interacting with others, and so they’re much smaller, and it’s harder for them to understand, and I really think they feel the loss,” Bailey Johnson*, a first-grade teacher at Redwood Shores Elementary School, said.

Due to COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has placed trick or treating in the “high risk” category for spreading the virus. Students, particularly younger ones, cannot take part in one of the most fun and memorable childhood experiences this year. Both teachers and students are attempting to find alternative, safe ways to celebrate the holiday. 

According to Bailey Johnson, Redwood Shores Elementary School is hosting a drive-through parade on Halloween.  Students can show their costumes to the staff during the drive-through and see each other from a safe distance.

The drive-through parade will be acting in place of Redwood Shores Elementary School’s annual Halloween parade. The staff plan to decorate tents for the parade and dress up according to the themes designated for each grade level. 

For her class, Johnson plans to hold a virtual monster-themed Halloween day where her students will play bingo and participate in monster-themed games and activities such as using playdough and googly eyes to create a monster. 

Johnson has put much thought and effort into making Halloween as normal as possible for her first-graders and has planned to make most of her class’ October books, daily activities, and movies centered around Halloween. She commented that although Halloween is definitely different this year, she does not believe that her students will be any less excited, as they are usually eager to participate in class. 

It’s just not the same as getting ready together and running around like weirdos.”

— Maya Sinha

Audrey O’Sullivan, a sophomore at Carlmont High School, and Maya Sinha, a freshman at Carlmont High School, are celebrating Halloween in a socially distanced environment and are looking forward to the holiday despite its setbacks.

O’Sullivan is decorating her house, dressing up, and baking Halloween treats. For Sinha, she’s going to dress up in a group costume with her friends and Facetime them. 

“I know me and my friends are going to be safe, and we’re going to do things over FaceTime…it’s just not the same as getting ready together and running around like weirdos,” Sinha said. 

Many other students also plan to celebrate the holiday.  In an informal survey of 112 local students, 63% of them plan to celebrate the holiday in various ways.

  Like O’Sullivan and Sinha, the majority of people plan to celebrate the holiday in a socially distanced environment and participate in activities like watching horror movies, baking treats, and dressing up in costumes.  The CDC website has also put information on Halloween-related activities on their website for people to find ideas to celebrate.

Though the strict guidelines imposed in the pandemic make a traditional Halloween experience impossible, many people have managed to think of creative alternatives to take part in the holiday fun.  

Many look forward to the future in hopes of hosting Halloween parties and trick-or-treating again in the following year. 

*This source’s name has been changed to protect their identity and is in accordance with Carlmont Media’s anonymous sourcing policy


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