“Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the word ‘normal’ has lost all meaning,” said high school nurse Krisann Miller. From shopping at the grocery store to going for a run, everything has changed. Halloween this year is no different, in that it is guaranteed to be nothing like any other Halloween.
“Usually I go trick or treating with my friends. We put on our costumes together, take photos, and then we’ll go out. This year was going to be the first year that we were allowed to trick-or-treat on our own. We probably won’t be able to do that this year,” said middle school student Maura Jennings ’25.
Kids around the world are finding ways to have socially distanced Halloweens. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggested that houses participating in trick-or-treating package candy in individual bags to avoid transfer of germs, and to keep any interaction between different families outside. They also recommended that kids and adults incorporate masks into their costumes, as a festive way to prevent the spread of infection.
In an effort to preserve the Halloween spirit, Wellesley organizations are preparing alternatives to entertain little kids. For example, Wellesley Code Ninjas, a kids coding franchise with locations all over the world, created a Halloween costume competition, available to anyone thirteen and under. The contest entails photo submissions of contestants’ Halloween costumes to any of the Code Ninjas social medias in front of the Linden Square Courtyard Pumpkin Patch, for the opportunity to win free coding classes, gift cards, and other prizes. But nothing can replace the traditional Halloween celebrations that kids look forward to every year, so Wellesley parents are making it happen.
“I know that there is some concern about large groups of little kids on Halloween, but the town of Wellesley has left it up to the parents to enforce social distancing. I think that the parents will do a good job keeping kids safe, because we are all craving some normalcy and some fun right about now,” said high school nurse Shari Johnson.
However, while little kids are manageable, parents and the Wellesley community are more concerned about teenagers.
“I know that the older kids will want to have Halloween parties, and that’s where we have to be careful. As much as possible we need to avoid big social events, because if someone who is there happens to be positive, it will become a spreader event,” said Johnson. “Unfortunately, since the first case of COVID-19 in Wellesley, everyone, especially teenagers, have consistently been robbed of milestone experiences. First, prom, then graduation, and now holiday celebrations. Even though the town is concerned about teenagers, they are just as desperate to return to normal life as anyone else.” It is up to teenagers, as well as everyone else, to find fun, festive ways to abide by social distancing to not only prove to the town that they are responsible, but to prevent any further spread of COVID-19.
High school student Lindsey Graves ’22 planned a fun, pandemic-friendly evening with friends. “This year I’m planning on dressing up with a few of my close friends and having a pumpkin carving party outside and with six feet between each of us. It’s not what I wanted to do, but it’s worth it if next Halloween we can be even a little closer to normal,” said Graves.
With all of the challenges presented by social isolation and the complete reorganization of every aspect of life, comes an opportunity to learn a valuable lesson. In response to the pandemic, everyone is given the chance to create new traditions and make distinct, valuable memories with loved ones, as long as social distance is maintained between immediate families.