As October draws to a close, the Halloween excitement and festivities ensue. This time last year, trick-or-treating looked very different than years prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As public health officials discouraged high-exposure activities such as trick-or-treating in 2020 due to the pandemic, this Halloween is anticipated to be reminiscent of those past years, when masks were nothing more than a Halloween accessory.
This year, trick-or-treating is no longer considered a high-exposure activity, and while social distancing and masks are encouraged, there is no mask or vaccination mandate to participate. Montclair State University students and faculty reacted to the first trick-or-treating post-pandemic.
Diana Deluca, a sophomore family science and human development major, spoke about her high hopes for this year’s Halloween festivities.
“I believe trick-or-treating this year will be safe. It’s ultimately up to the parents or guardians whether or not to let their children out on Halloween this year,” Deluca said. “With that being said, there are lower rates of COVID-19 cases and higher vaccination rates than the year before, so this year should be a more safe and enjoyable Halloween.”
Jaime Bedrin, a professor at the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State, shared her excitement for her kids’ trick-or-treating experience this year.
“I’m excited for my kids to trick or treat this year,” Bedrin said. “Only one of my sons is fully vaccinated, but I feel like the chances of catching [COVID-19] from walking around is minimal. I will ask my kids to stay away from mega crowds, but I don’t think we need to stress too much.”
Melissa Shafer, a sophomore nursing major, shared the precautions she will be taking this year as she takes her younger family members trick-or-treating.
“I know when I take my cousins trick-or-treating, I will have them put a mask on when they go up to each house, but I won’t make them wear one while walking around,” Shafer said. “[COVID-19] has ruined so many things [and] I don’t want it to ruin Halloween this year.”
There is no doubt Halloween this year will look remarkably different than last year. Streets that were mainly desolate with few families trickling through will most likely now be filled with the old images of Halloween we once knew: streets filled with monsters, heroes and everything in between.
A lot has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. One thing that hopes to remain the same is the joy and festivities families and communities share on Halloween night.