Home Commentary Sick or treat!: Halloween, pandemic edition

Sick or treat!: Halloween, pandemic edition

by Elyette Levy November 2, 2020
Sick or treat!: Halloween, pandemic edition

Wishing you a spooky COVID Halloween!

It’s hard to be festive during a partial lockdown. Though last year Halloween was cancelled because of bad weather, this year, the pandemic is the one who has set the brakes on our Halloween cheer.

I feel especially disappointed for the children whose trick-or treating-experience is going to be a careful endeavour. Growing up, this tradition was the only time of the year that my mom would allow my sister and I to raise our blood sugar levels that high. At the time, the most dangerous part of going door-to-door and meeting complete strangers for free treats was to inadvertently ingest poison, drugs, or needles just like the horror stories warned us about on the news. Part of the experience was also to show up to school the next day with all the candy we didn’t like (i.e. Tootsie Rolls) and hope to find something to our taste during the annual post-Halloween barter with our friends.

As we grew older, going out for Halloween became a much less COVID-safe activity, though we upkept the culture of spoiling ourselves for one day. I can’t say I’m not jealous of my past self who was able to see her friends at crowded house parties.

For me, it was also an opportunity to meet up with people I hadn’t seen in ages; our increasingly busy schedules are already pushing us away from our friends for longer than we would like them to.

Halloween is the first festive event that has really made me feel the effects of the pandemic on our celebrations. Christmas seemed really far away when we first started confining, and my family is too small for our Thanksgiving dinner to be a big problem. But knowing that the day after Halloween inevitably marks the first acceptable moment in the year to start playing Christmas songs, it feels weird to suddenly find myself needing to change my traditions.

I asked university students what their plans for Halloween were this year, to see if the season’s spirit will still be honoured despite our red zone restrictions. Here’s what they had to say:

Catherine Jarry, Concordia: Movie marathon, pumpkin carving, and cupcake decoration!

Alain Kalubi, UQAM: Like I’ll spend Christmas: bored in my room.

Bryanna Frankel, Concordia: Giving out candy, then going to Illumi!

Mégane Dandurand, UDEM: Cramming school projects.

Sannie Chie, University of Toronto: Gonna show up to Zoom class all dressed up.

Nanor Froundjian, Concordia: Dressing up as the devil and sipping on some boogie wine (mixed with some tears).

Marie Figuereo, Concordia: Home, baking, and movies!

Emmanuelle Morin, McGill: Might watch movies with two friends!

Hopefully, Montrealers’ Oct. 31st activities, however safe the restrictions required them to be, still celebrated the one day of the year we can be somebody (or thing) else. Happy Halloween!


Feature graphic by Taylor Reddam

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