“Halloween 2020 Guide”
Atlantic County Magazine – GACCA Article
Print Date 10.30.2020
By Judy Brenna
By now most of you have received the update from the Governor’s office regarding the suggested conduct for Halloween this year. I’m wondering how many people this year will dress up as an actual knucklehead. I tried coming up with a costume but all I could think of was a giant prosthetic finger-knuckle taped to my forehead. Incidentally if you go online and Google “COVID Halloween guidelines in NJ”, ads will likely pop up about Verizon’s new 5G plan, which is kind of hilarious to me considering that conspiracy theory that was going around about how 5G towers in China caused the virus. But I digress. The guideline.
It’s not rocket science. We’re pretty much accustomed by now to the concept of social distancing, washing our hands and being mindful of our surroundings ((well… most of us)). Outdoor activities are obviously a better alternative, and if you choose to take your kids trick-or-treating, just… make good choices. Have precautions set in place to not only safeguard you and your family’s well being but the trick-or-treaters coming to your house as well. That means wearing your mask and gloves while passing out candy, coming up with a safer way to disperse the candy, or having blind faith and leaving the bowl outside with a sign telling each kid to “help themselves to a piece”. I, personally, am reluctant with this honor system, because we all know every neighborhood has that jerky kid who’s going to dump the entire bowl of candy into his pillowcase, ruining it for everyone else. And if you DO decide to leave the bowl out there, consider prepackaging treat bags, as opposed to individually wrapped loose candy in a bowl. It will reduce the odds of sticky little hands touching everything. For those who plan to trick-or-treat should ((#obvi)) limit their groups to current household members, consider staying local, and limit the number of houses on their route. So, for those ambitious youngsters with older siblings who drive and plan routes ahead of time, strategically hitting several neighborhoods to achieve optimal candy collection, you should reconsider. Think of it this way, the amount of money you spend on gas for the night you could easily just go to the dollar store and purchase the candy. I get it, that sucks the fun out of it, but you know what’s not fun? Being on dialysis because you lost both your kidneys to COVID. And wear a mask, because a Halloween mask doesn’t count.
Next thing I’d like to touch on, Halloween Parties. ((Captain Obvious alert)) Avoid large indoor festivities, which would be subject to the limitations currently in effect on indoor gatherings, and that includes any activity that requires close contact like bobbing for apples ((#DUH)). It’s just not worth the risk. Neither is the concept of accidentally water logging yourself, all for the sake of winning a prize that you only find out much later is a $5 gift card to a gas station that has been out of business for over 2 years. And on that note, #justsayno to indoor haunted houses. Sure they’re loads of fun, but you know what’s not? Getting both your legs amputated due to COVID. If you choose to host a haunted house in your neighborhood, do it OUTSIDE, ensure visitors maintain an appropriate distance by staggering start times and limiting occupancy, and let your guests scare the bejeezus out of themselves.
The greatest idea is to go virtual ((don’t even think about rolling your eyes)). As we continue to adapt to COVID-19 limitations, we’re getting used to celebrating special events and moments virtually. Anyone who attends weekly virtual happy hours on Zoom can attest, it’s a breeze ((which reminds me, I need to make a supply run; mama’s running low on her special juice)). And I have to say attending a funeral in your underwear is a totally unique and liberating experience. All you need to do is pick a video chat app (i.e. Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, etc), send out an e-vite and put together an awesome party playlist. Also, there are more activities than you would imagine when doing a virtual event. For one, you could try a virtual dance-off. Put on your costume and show off your moves all in the comfort of your own home (just remember your pants). Another really cool idea is hiring virtual entertainment like a virtual psychic or tarot reader, and costumed characters to invade your virtual hangout. One of my favorite ideas thus far is sharing ghost stories. Reminiscent of campfire experiences when we were kids, everyone gets to take turns sticking a flashlight under their chin ((or in my case chins)) telling a spooky story. And then afterward, try a virtual costume contest. All you need to do is pick a theme, make the rules (i.e. are store-bought costumes allowed? PG costumes only?), designate judges and incentivize the contest (come up with a prize that can be sent or dropped off to the winner (i.e. a bottle of wine, gift card, baked treats, etc.). And lastly, my most favorite idea of all would have to be hosting a virtual murder mystery. All you have to do is pick the game (and you can even purchase a game on sites like Zoom), download it, email your friends the invite (which provides their characters and how to be prepared), and then host your event!
This is all about adaptation, folks. Just as we have been able to embrace new ways to shop, dine, and socially interact, there’s no reason why we can’t embrace some of these ideas as well. Not only are we practicing safe protocols but we’re also ensuring a fantastic time. Because you know what’s not a fantastic time? Death due to COVID. Please remember Quarantina’s invaluable words of wisdom during your Halloween excursions this year, “wear a mask and always always always wash your hands”. Until next week…#stayjerseystrong. Happy Halloween, y’all!