Halloween 101: How People are Celebrating During a Pandemic

This year, Halloween falls on a Saturday, making it the ideal situation for people who like to party. It also falls on a full moon, so those who are into all things spooky are also in luck.

However, social distancing rules that are designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 are really throwing a wrench in things.

In this post, we’re going to talk about some of the most popular Halloween traditions in North America and how they can be adapted to uphold social distancing restrictions.

We’ll also cover some related celebrations that have contributed to the birth of this Christian-turned-secular holiday.

Halloween Traditions

There are several celebrations from Gaelic and Celtic culture that are the basis of the Halloween we know today. These include the Gaelic celebration of the end of harvest and the Celtic celebration that honors the dead.

Today, Halloween is mostly a spooky holiday. People decorate with cobwebs, bats, ghosts, zombies, skeletons, and other horrific things. The colors black, purple, and orange are closely related to this holiday.

Here are a few traditions that are celebrated in North America that are fun for the family.

Carving Pumpkins

Carving faces into pumpkins to create is a popular tradition for children. Many parents bring their kids to the pumpkin patch to pick the one that they like the best.

Once they bring the pumpkins home, they take out all of the seeds and insides and clean up any dirt on the outside. Then, they use kid-friendly carving tools to make jack-o-lanterns.

People typically light a small candle in the jack-o-lanterns and place them on the front porch for trick-or-treaters to see.

Trick-or-Treating

Trick-or-treating is a tradition when kids dress up in costumes and go door-to-door in their neighborhoods to get candy.

There is no real age limit on trick-or-treating, but it’s most popular with toddlers and school-age kids.

Since many children live in neighborhoods with busy roads, many schools, churches, and local organizations host “trunk-or-treat” events. People line their cars up in parking lots and decorate their trunks. Kids go from car-to-car for candy, instead.

Costume Parties

Trick-or-treating is mainly for children, but people of all ages like to dress up for some Halloween festivities. Costume parties are very popular on and around Halloween.

Some costume parties have a theme, and others are just full of Halloween fun.

For children’s costume parties, it is popular to paint pumpkins, bob for apples, make toilet paper mummies and play other Halloween-themed games. Adult costume parties typically consist of much more grown-up fun, like drinking games and dancing.

Adapting Halloween Festivities for COVID-19

Carving pumpkins and dressing up is still possible this year, but parties and trick-or-treating will be limited.

Some cities are still allowing trick-or-treating as long as kids wear face coverings. Everybody is being asked to maintain social distance, so man people will leave out a bowl of candy rather than distribute it at their door.

Many people will still host small parties in private locations whether they are allowed to or not. However, most public Halloween parties at bars, clubs, and restaurants will not be happening.

Some other ways to be festive from home might include baking pumpkin treats and Halloween desserts, having the kids dress up to do a Halloween costume show with your family, and watching Halloween movies.

Celebrations Related to Halloween

As we mentioned, several related celebrations contribute to our modern Halloween traditions. Two of the most prominent holidays are Samhain and Día de Los Muertos.

Let’s talk about the roots of these celebrations.

Samhain

Samhain is a pagan festival that starts on Halloween and celebrates the end of the harvest and the beginning of the “dark part” of the year. Several modern Halloween traditions, including dressing in costume and trick-or-treating, are rooted in this celebration.

Today, Samhain is celebrated by Wiccan practitioners. It is a very important spiritual celebration since it is considered to be the time when the divide between the Earth and the Otherworld is the weakest. This means that spiritual creatures are thought to be able to come earthside during this celebration.

Día de Los Muertos

The day after Halloween is Día de Los Muertos, which is Spanish for “Day of the Dead.” It is a Mexican holiday that begins on the Catholic celebration of All Saints’ Day.

It is a time to honor your family members that have gone before you. Mexicans prepare special bread dishes and bring them to the graves of their deceased loved ones. This festival is still very much celebrated in Mexico and locations with large Mexican populations.

In recent years, the traditional Día de Los Muertos skeleton has had a lot of influence on Halloween costumes in the United States.

Final Thoughts

Try to keep your normal traditions from the comfort of your home. Dress up and go all out, even if it’s only for yourself.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

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