By Kait Spong
When you think of an ideal Halloween, images of elaborate costumes, plenty of candy, and even a haunted house or two might come to mind. The 8.8 billion-dollar Halloween industry is responsible for many of these annual events, like Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights or Walt Disney World’s Oogie Boogie Bash. On a smaller, more local scale, you can attend ghost tours, visit a Trunk-or-Treat gathering, or find your way through creative corn mazes. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder why Halloween is a favorite time of year for many Americans, college student or not.
So, it only makes sense that, when you’re thinking of celebrating Halloween, your mind definitely doesn’t go to visions of staying home to chill solo with your roommate or a few family members already in your quarantine bubble. Yet, that’s likely exactly what you have to look forward to during your 2020 All Hallows’ Eve celebrations – thanks to COVID-19, the viral illness that has spooked our usual Halloween celebrations. The virus has even led some cities to cancel Halloween events, moving others to question whether to keep Trick-or-Treating traditions intact.
Halloween in 2020 isn’t dead, though. In fact, you can still have plenty of fun on your own this year, as long as you approach the holiday with a bit of imagination. Think about it – you’ve already adapted to the new, weird way of the world after eight months, and despite some struggles here and there, you’re still doing your thing and living life! The same can ring true for your Halloween celebrations, as well. Check out some of our suggestions for creating a memorable, socially distant Halloween below:
Boo your neighbors.
Unless you live in exclusively student housing, odds are good that your off-campus apartment community is home to not only young adults, but also families with young children, who are looking to enjoy safe, socially distant Halloween activities this year. Since you typically have plans on Halloween night – or the weekend before, when plenty of the kid-oriented activities also occur – why not celebrate differently this year and surprise one or two families in your community with a Boo Basket, Bucket, or Bag? This tradition, often referred to as “booing” or “being booed,” is an excellent way to help kiddos load up on treats, while maintaining more than six-feet of distance. If you leave instructions to keep the chain going strong, you can inspire others to create and distribute their own Boo Baskets. So, pick your container, gather your goodies, and get ready to make someone’s Halloween utterly “fang-tastic!”
Host a virtual costume party.
Virtual game nights and dinner parties have taken off in popularity since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, and these types of online festivities can easily get the spooky treatment, just in time for Halloween! If you still want to have fun this Halloween season, while keeping the proper safety precautions in mind, consider hosting a virtual costume party. Get in the spirit by decorating the part of your home you’ll be broadcasting from, organizing a Halloween-themed playlist, and planning a few icebreakers to get the conversation flowing. Then, you can virtually party it up with whomever you invite along for the seasonal fun, whether you keep it to your closest group of friends or pepper in some peers and family members. And, don’t forget to lead a costume contest at the end of the party – one with a first-place prize, if you want to be super official about it.
Enjoy your own personal scary movie marathon.
Maybe, you’ve decided that you want to take the year off from formal Halloween obligations – but, you’re still in the mood to pay homage to your favorite holiday. The good news is that you still have plenty of time to plan your own scary movie marathon, which will keep things low-key while also providing those sought-after chills and thrills. First, decide upon the movies you’d like to watch during your marathon, as well as the duration this event will be taking place. Are you hoping to binge your favorites all in one night or during one weekend? Next, plan out your schedule and meals or snacks, as you don’t want any distractions. Finally, consider a few special touches meant to replicate that movie theater vibe, like silencing your phone while you’re watching and dimming those porch lights, deterring trick-or-treaters or any other passerby. Hey, you’ve got a lot of important movies to watch!
Everyone loves Halloween, which is why, like us, you’re probably having trouble imagining even one year without celebrating it. COVID-19 has changed a lot of the things we do, the people we see, and the ways in which we spend our free time, but it doesn’t have to shift everything in your life, including your love for this spooky, scary holiday! Just remember to play it safe, keep it fun, and adhere to local rules and regulations, and you’ll be able to “creep it real” on this weird and wacky “Howl-oween!”