Halloween Was A Bit Different This Year...
Guest Editorial by Erin Ganz
When we think of Halloween, we think of fun times, candy, and costumes. But now with COVID, has it changed or hasn’t it?
After speaking with several individuals, it seemed they had the same consensus...they didn’t believe they did anything wrong...when they chose to continue with Halloween traditions while knowing the risks.
Looking at the Minnesota Department of Health guidelines dated October 20, they recommended there should be no neighborhood trick-or-treating and if you did choose to participate you should leave treats in a single-sealed package for the families to pick up themselves. They also advised that trick-or-treating was a high-risk activity.
I asked a question that none of the individuals I spoke with had even thought of, but they all happened to have the same answer. The question was, “Once you got the candy, did you sanitize it?” The response was, “No, we did not sanitize it. We did not think to do that or that it was necessary. That was the parents’ responsibility.”
An elderly couple I interviewed said, “We are choosing to hand out candy to the little kids that come around five-thirty. We’ll have our porch light on and a mask.” When asked why they actually considered handing out candy, the response was, “I am in very good health and I am not afraid of dying.”
I talked with a younger couple with kids, and asked what they had planned on doing. They said they were only going to a limited number of family members’ houses for Halloween, and that they would not be using masks or gloves, but they would not go inside any of the homes.
When talking with the Fall Festival organizer who has held a Halloween event for twelve years, this was the statement I heard, “Everyone could choose what they wanted to do...if they wanted to wear a mask they could, if not that’s fine.” Even after asking if there would be a list of everyone who attended the event, so if there was a confirmed case of COVID, that there could be contact tracing? The answer was simply, “No, we will be leaving it up to the adults to choose whether it is safe for them to come or not.”
After speaking with these individuals and hearing how they felt about their approach to Halloween, it was very clear to me that they were not worried about COVID.
When I left town, only two people were seen wandering the streets in costume.