How Halloween Was Celebrated Safely During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Nafisa Mostafa

“This Halloween, I cherished my indoor time by baking way too many cupcakes and going overboard with the Halloween decorations. On Halloween, I sat at home watching horror films. One thing that I made sure was a constant in my shift of traditions, however, was my passion for Halloween costumes. This year, I was a quarantined Arctic Wolf,” said Nafisa Mostafa ’24.

All holiday celebrations for the foreseeable future are bound to change due to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. This year’s Halloween on Saturday, October 31st, 2020 was no exception. Although this year’s Halloween was very different from the previous ones, it did not prevent Bronx Science students from having fun. 

The S.O. Cabinet’s traditional plan of having a Monster Mash to celebrate Halloween had to be changed this year.  “We planned a spirit week during which time students could submit photos of anything Halloween-related, which we posted on our Instagram account. We also asked teachers to read ghost stories over Zoom, and we held an Among Us game night. We also worked to create a virtual escape room as well as fun additions, such as Halloween-themed Zoom backgrounds,” said Sophie Poritzky ’21, President of the S.O. Cabinet. This year, virtual events for Halloween were the safest way to celebrate, and the S.O. did not let the Coronavirus pandemic ruin the holiday. 

This is a Minecraft pumpkin carved by Alisha Rahman ’22 for Halloween. (Alisha Rahman)

Students found plenty of ways to celebrate this year’s nontraditional Halloween. “I wore my costume and sat at home. I also carved a pumpkin and stocked up on candy from Target,”  said Alisha Rahman ’22. Pumpkin carving was very popular this year. Pumpkin carving kits were easy to find, and pumpkins were sold at supermarkets and bodegas around the city, while pumpkin patches were open with new socially distanced guidelines for pickers. While Halloween pumpkin carving was done inside, the pumpkins themselves were displayed outside, in traditional fashion. This year, instead of going trick or treating for candy, many students bought their own candy this year to enjoy at home with their family. 

This year’s Halloween was difficult because I have done cosplay so often for previous Halloweens, so this year, it really hit me hard not to be able to do it. This year, I just used a cosplay costume that I already had, because if I got a new costume now, I would probably grow out of it or would not be interested in it when Cosplay conventions open again. I ended up watching movies all day on Halloween,” said Lilly Montelle ‘23. This year, all of the costumes that people had worked on did not get their moment in the spotlight. However, cosplayers used their social media accounts to post photos of their costumes for all to see. This year, costumes were mainly worn inside. There was also the option of having a family photo session in order to celebrate Halloween safely.

As always, scary Halloween movies were broadcast on television channels. This year, I watched a horror movie with my family at home, and we decorated our house with fun Halloween decorations. We also cooked an immense amount of food,” said Maysa Maryam ’23. Indoor haunted houses were not a recommended activity this year, but many students decorated their homes in order to get into the Halloween spirit. Handmade Halloween decoration tutorials were viewed on YouTube and Google. Along with video tutorials for decorations, there were also many Halloween recipes to be found online.  

Despite the many advanced plans that were made for Halloween in 2020, quite a few were cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. On September 9th, 2020, Los Angeles issued a trick or treating ban. The next day, the ban was lifted and guidelines and restrictions were set in place instead. Disney Parks cancelled their Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party — a highly anticipated event that did not happen this year. Universal also cancelled their Halloween event, Halloween Horror Nights. And the New York’s famous Greenwich Village Halloween Parade was also cancelled this year. Those who went trick or treating were strongly encouraged to wear a mask and to maintain a social distance of 6 feet or more. 

Many guidelines were issued in order to ensure a safe Halloween for 2020. The public was advised to stay away from high risk activities, like indoor activities and shared hayrides. Outdoor haunted houses were a moderate risk activity since they were held in the open air and a distance of over six feet could be easily maintained. The Coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of many traditional Halloween events this year, but Bronx Science students managed to make the best of it and enjoy much of what the holiday could offer. 

Students found plenty of ways to celebrate this year’s nontraditional Halloween.

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