Have a safe, happy Halloween!

While October is typically filled with Halloween costume sales, decorations, and parties, this year one of the world’s scariest monsters has transcended his costume form and attacked the real world. His name? COVID-19. Halloween is one of the most beloved and widely celebrated holidays, across the United States and even internationally. Kids love dressing up to trick-or-treat, while older teenagers and adults often showcase their favorite costumes at Halloween parties. Amid a worldwide pandemic, however, it remains unlikely that children will be able to go door-to-door picking up candy, and even more unlikely that any form of Halloween partying will be allowed. Therefore, the question remains: What is the fate of a mid-pandemic Halloween?

Should You Celebrate Halloween This Year?

According to the official CDC website, the answer is a strong no. The National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases explains, “any traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses… If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.” As colleges across the United States opened up with social distancing measures this August, the media is looking specifically to college students to see whether or not partying will occur. Halloween’s notorious reputation for attracting partying could yield serious problems for the spread of coronavirus. Instead, the CDC notes, “there are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween.”

How To Celebrate Safely

The traditional door-to-door candy grabbing will likely not happen in any part of the United States this year. According to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation, “Over 148 million U.S. adults intend to take part in Halloween-related activities this year... That's down from the 172 million in the 2019 survey. And those planning to celebrate by trick or treating this year dropped to 23% from 29% in 2019.” While the numbers of in-person celebrators have declined, Americans are still looking for ways to celebrate the holiday. Celebrating on Zoom, doing virtual Instagram challenges, wearing masks to social distance with friends, and watching Halloween movies are all great ways to celebrate during these unprecedented times.

What are CMU’s Plans for A Safe and Fun Halloween?

Whether you’re an in-person student living on campus or a remote student living at home, Carnegie Mellon is dedicated to creating a Halloween experience for its students. Student organizations such as the Dietrich First Year Council are hosting Halloween Instagram challenges. Hunt Library even has spooky-themed books available for students to pick up or read online.

There are many ways to have a fun Halloween despite the COVID-19 pandemic. While you may not be able to trick-or-treat, you can still find something good to eat. So remember to come as you aren’t, beware of the scares, and let the ghoul times roll.