COVID Halloween II – The Inconvenience

Just a little less inconvenient this year


Aidan Brophy

Well, here we are again, nearly a whole year later. We’ve got a new President, the Chinese real estate market is crashing, and we still have to navigate a COVID-compliant Halloween. Sure, we did this last year, but we’ve got a vaccine now, there’s new guidelines and recommendations, and it’s all just as confusing as last year, so we should probably at least take a crack at deciphering it all.

Now, unlike last year, things seem to be much safer in regards to the pandemic. A decent bit of the US population is vaccinated now, which has led to lessened mask-based regulations and safety measures. New CDC guidelines for holiday celebrations follow this trend, with masks only being recommended for indoor settings and highly crowded outdoor settings in COVID-heavy areas. In general, the guidelines do not recommend wearing a mask at all times while outside, meaning you should be clear to pull down your mask in between houses while Trick-Or-Treating on the 31st.

These guidelines do, of course, also recommend getting vaccinated if possible, but luckily there are various locations (mostly Rite-Aids) within the Millvale area where you can schedule an appointment to receive the jab. As of right now, children 12 and up are now cleared to get the vaccine, and booster shots for most of the COVID vaccines available are recommended, but every little bit helps.

Now, the CDC didn’t draw up any Halloween-specific recommendations like last year, and instead posted a general list of ‘rules’ to follow for the holiday season/s. These rules are, for the most part, common-COVID-sense guidelines, and are along the lines of, “avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces,” and, “if you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.” Like I said, common sense.

However, some of the guidelines for Halloween last year still apply, even taking the differing circumstances into account. Candy-givers are advised to hand out candy outdoors, and individually-bagged handfuls of candy are recommended. Direct contact between candy-seekers and candy-providers should be avoided, or at least minimized.

As for other common seasonal activities, recommendations vary. Haunted houses are a tad risky, unless they happen to be largely-outdoors experiences like the Haunted Trail at Camp Guyasuta. Parties can also be high-risk activities depending on the circumstances. As long as most of the party-goers are either vaccinated, wearing masks, or both, however, the risk can be minimized.

If you’re the type of person to play it safe, however, your range of options is a bit wider. Many typical Halloween-related activities are, in most cases, perfectly safe. These include decorating your house, carving pumpkins (for a contest or for personal enjoyment), and staying up late for horror movie marathons. Do, of course, be aware of potential sleep deprivation if you try to withstand marathons that go on for longer than twenty four hours.

And when it comes to costume selection for the big night, my personal recommendations from last year still apply. Costumes that naturally incorporate medical-grade masks, or masks of similar quality, can be practical and great-looking. Doctors, nurses, and surgeons are more mundane options, while those who are willing to put more time and effort into a costume could go for hazmat suits, CBRN operators, or zombified versions of all of the above.