October 31, 2020

COVID-19, Hurricane Zeta, and the Worst Halloween Ever

witch's house

I was very relieved to hear from Donald Trump during the last debate before the 2020 election that the COVID-19 pandemic is basically over, that the U.S. has a vaccine ready, and that the military will soon begin distributing to anyone who wants it. But seriously, it sounds like most experts think we are going to be living with this pandemic for a bit longer. Here in Mississippi, the county in which I live is back under another mask mandate because so many people have been refusing to comply with the public health recommendations that COVID-19 rates are spiking again. That raises the question of what will become of Halloween this year. We just endured yet another hurricane (Zeta) in the midst of the pandemic, so I don't imagine Halloween is a high priority for anyone around here this year. I can't say I blame anybody for that.

So what will happen to Halloween this year? I suspect that the local responses will fall into one of three camps. Some parents will decide that the risk to their children that would come from participating in trick-or-treating outweighs the benefits and look for other ways to enjoy the holiday. This is the camp I would fall into if I had children. As much as I love Halloween, there are better ways to celebrate it in the midst of a pandemic than going door-to-door begging for handouts (could the characterization I am using here be why some conservatives dislike Halloween so much?).

The second camp still believes the "Chinese virus" is a hoax (not unlike climate change) or that the pandemic is over because the Orange One said so. They will attempt to treat this Halloween the same as every other. If they let their kids participate in it before the pandemic, they will do so again this year. My guess, after having talked to a few of the parents in this camp, is that they are likely to be angry at those of us who won't be answering our doors this year. If they have a bad night, they will blame those of us playing it safe for ruining their night. "Muh freedoms" and all.

As for the third camp, they aren't going to let their children participate in Halloween because...Jesus. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the pandemic except that some of them might decide that even JesusWeen should be off-limits this year. Of course, this group seems to overlap quite a bit with the second group, and that might mean JesusWeen would still be regarded as safe. Even if there was a virus, it isn't like Jesus would allow someone to catch it from a bible, right?

I think most of us can agree that 2020 has been an awful year. I suppose it is fitting that Halloween 2020 would be pretty terrible too. I don't envy the parents with kids who would otherwise be trick-or-treating. Hopefully, they will be able to find some safer alternatives that can still be fun. Perhaps this would be a good year to focus on other Halloween traditions or start some new ones. That would be about the most positive spin I could put on it: use this year as an opportunity to start a fun new tradition.

As for me, I don't recall ever looking forward to Halloween less than I have this year. It feels like I'm just going through the motions. I think I reached the point where I started wanting 2020 to be over a few months ago, and that hasn't changed. Try as I might to get psyched up about Halloween, I just find myself wanting to make it to the end of the year without another damn hurricane!

Assuming you typically enjoy Halloween (or JesusWeen), I hope you somehow manage to have a good one this year in spite of the circumstances. If you can figure out how to do so, more power to you. I hope I will be able to do the same next year.