The coronavirus outbreak has affected birthdays, graduations and summer vacations. With the pandemic progressing into the fall, many are worried that another holiday may be added to the COVID-19 chopping block – Halloween.
Governor Phil Murphy’s office released a statement that Halloween in New Jersey would not be cancelled, and that all trick-or-treating should occur with masks worn and proper adherence to other safety guidelines. However, regardless of the Governor’s statement, some New Jersey towns have decided to ban trick-or-treating and have cancelled all Halloween-related activities. This has evoked large disputes across towns, with some residents protesting all Halloween restrictions and others questioning the safety of allowing the holiday to carry on like previous years. One township that argues both sides of the controversy is Teaneck in Bergen County, a continual hot spot throughout the pandemic. Township officials have not yet announced whether or not they will allow Halloween festivities of any sort to take place. Abigail Diehl ‘23, a long-time resident of Teaneck, commented, “With a town containing a rather large number of COVID-19 cases, I think it is safest for everyone to stay indoors during Halloween this year. Of course staying inside is not what anyone wants to do during Halloween, but I personally cannot see a way to enforce any rules stating everyone must be maintaining social distancing, and wearing masks and gloves.” In fact, as Abigail later pointed out, this would not be the first time our generation endured an altered Halloween.“We lost a Halloween to Hurricane Sandy, I don’t see why we cannot lose another in order to keep more people safe.”
The towns that are still allowing Halloween activities have released strict guidelines. These include arranging halloween candy in a manner so that treats are not touched by multiple people, staying socially distant if handing out candy in person, avoiding haunted houses and hayrides, and of course washing hands often. Many New Jersey residents have found creative ways to follow these guidelines and maintain the Halloween spirit. One resident of South Jersey has gone viral after sharing her candy dispensing creation: a series of toilet paper rolls taped together running down the railing of her front stoop so that social distancing may be maintained while handing out treats. Other citizens have followed suit, replicating this ingenious creation using the rolls that accumulated during the odd toilet paper phenomena of early 2020.
So however you are celebrating Halloween this year, whether it be a zoom party, safely trick-or-treating, or passing out candy through an intricate tube contraption, please stay safe, wear a mask, and try not to eat too much candy (if that’s even possible).
Lauren Grae ‘23 Staff Writer