Ghosts, ghouls or things that go bump in the night might have a different meaning on Halloween because of COVID-19.
In a culture determined to continue with the comfortable familiarity of tradition, the fright-night festivities might have to be modified, depending on recommendations from public health authorities.
But the true horror this Halloween is the number of active COVID-19 cases that are increasing in Ontario.
Not for a lack of enforcing restrictions, but the province cannot seem to get a grip on controlling the community spread of COVID-19.
So what is the lesser of two evils? Halloween cancelled this year? Or is it trick-or-treating COVID-19-style?
Questions about Halloween have been part of the ongoing COVID-19 discussion this month. It’s understandable that the desire for normalcy will only increase the longer the pandemic continues. But the answer is to heed the advice of health care professionals when it comes to safety with the pandemic.
Keeping social interactions to a minimum and proper hygiene, while wearing a mask in public, are reiterated by public health authorities as means to keep the rate of community spread low.
The Ontario government is discouraging the event from happening in hotspots (Toronto, Ottawa, etc.) and is recommending ideas like virtual Halloween parties.
But the numbers remain relatively low in Chatham-Kent, and after months of handling pandemic protocols, one would think we could handle this one fall tradition. Especially when it involves wearing masks and being outdoors.
Perhaps those who will hand out treats can pre-make loot bags and leave them on the porch? Perhaps treats can be handed out with sanitized tongs rather than hands? Any process that reduces direct contact will ensure more safety.
As community spread remains a factor of the rise in cases since the pandemic’s start, the best to way to limit risk is to limit exposure.
Given the outdoor nature of Halloween, people should also consider going trick-or-treating with only those they live with as opposed to a group of kids.
Halloween is a tradition of all things ghosts, ghouls and fright. Let’s hope those who participate this year do so respectfully. Those who participate may want to take the pandemic protocols seriously to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable individuals in our community.
The real horror would be the spread and rise in cases of COVID-19 due to one tradition, one night of fright.
– Kathleen Smith