Some people might say 2020 is the year holiday celebrations died, but does that have to be the case? With Halloween right around the corner, many families in the West Chester borough are considering new and creative ways to celebrate. The party scene is a whole lot different this year as well, leaving a question mark on a lot of young residents’ calendars.
A special alert titled “Trick-or-Treat” on the West Chester borough website provides some food (or candy) for thought for families in town. With no specified trick-or-treat times, the borough suggests respect for houses that decide not to participate in festivities. There is also a link to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guide for Halloween.
This Halloween do’s-and-don’ts guide is nestled in a long list of holiday risks and recommendations. The CDC offers a list of low, moderate and high-risk Halloween activities. Some of the low-risk activities include carving pumpkins, decorating houses and hosting virtual costume contests. The moderates include a bit more social leeway, including outdoor activities like haunted forests and socially distanced trick-or-treating. The CDC recommends avoiding the activities they deemed high-risk, like traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating and indoor costume parties or haunted houses.
Ben Kuebrich, a journalism professor at WCU and town resident, is considering new ways to celebrate with his son this year. Kuebrich still plans to partake in the theatrical experience of the holiday: “My four-year-old loves Halloween and has been talking about costume ideas for months. Currently the plan is a sea monster.” As for candy collecting, Kuebrich is experimenting with an alternative way for his toddler to participate, “I think we’ll coordinate with a couple friends in the borough so that he can experience a bit of the holiday, show off his costume and give/get candy.”
Other families in the borough are also planning on venturing into the streets Oct. 31. Eryn Travis, a professor in the Communications department, also hopes to keep the Halloween spirit alive for her family. Travis has been keeping up with regular traditions like house decorations, Halloween movies and even homemade costumes with her kids. With her oldest being 15 and the youngest 12, the years of traditional trick-or-treating are numbered, but they will still be participating somehow. When Travis’ kids ask about Halloween, she has “assured them they’re getting candy, the only difference is how.” As for handing out goodies, Travis plans on making individual candy bags and setting up a table to help socially distance.
Halloween isn’t just for the young kids, either. As the one day of the year where it’s acceptable for adults to play dressup, a lot of big kids are missing out, too. Since the new rules and regulations at the bars and the state of emergency declaration in West Chester on Oct. 2 limiting social gatherings, the traditional grownup celebrations of the past are impossible to recreate in 2020. A lot of college students are at a loss for plans and question whether to even bother with a costume. Kierra Maynard, a graduate student in the Athletic Training department, is spending her fourth Halloween in West Chester. Maynard says she had wanted to dress up and go out but doesn’t see how it will be possible.
As a bartender in town, I know it will be interesting to see how Halloween is celebrated by this demographic. A Saturday night Halloween was a dream come true until the reality of a pandemic hit 2020. Even though the year has seemed like a scary movie in a lot of ways, human creativity has never failed: consider this Halloween a challenge in capability when designing costumes of masked cowboys and veiled witches.
Giana Reno is a fourth-year Communications major with a minor in Journalism. GR890947@wcupa.edu
The Centers for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween
West Chester Borough https://west-chester.com/AlertCenter.aspx?AID=TrickorTreat-254