The pandemic has sucked the fun out of 2020. It can take our Fourth of July. It can take our Labor Day, Memorial Day, and Easter. But it will not take our Halloween. Some Halloween traditions are sacred. And you can keep them alive— even while staying safe from COVID-19. Want proof? Here are twelve things the pandemic isn’t taking from our family
Halloween Tradition #1: The Pumpkin Patch
COVID-19 spreads poorly in the outdoors, simply because of the amount of circulating air, says Elemental Medium. So we’re still keeping up a huge Halloween tradition: the pumpkin patch. We plan to pick a time when most people will be busy (the early morning, a weekday), mask up, and visit the pumpkin patch while maintaining a proper six foot distance from everyone. I’ll admit it: I’ll probably rub hand sanitizer all over the pumpkins if anyone else touches them. But worth it!
Halloween Tradition #2: Carving Pumpkins
What’s ooey and gooey and all over your kitchen? Pumpkin guts! ‘Tis the season to attempt to hack through a layer of pumpkin skin two inches thick with tiny plastic-handled spikes and saws from Target/the grocery store/wherever. Our hands will hurt and we will be slimy with pumpkin guts and I will have to scrape out four pumpkins because my kids suck at it. It’s Halloween tradition!
Then There’s Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!
We pick a different recipe every year. We roll the seeds I meticulously picked from pumpkin guts in butter and whatever other herbs and spices are required. Then we bake them, trying hard not to burn them, and eat them a total of like, once before they go bad. Throwing them out probably counts as a Halloween tradition in itself.
Two Words: Candy Corn
Yes, I know candy corn is a contentious subject. Some of us could snarf a bagful. Some of us believe it’s made of wax and red 40 and unworthy of human consumption. But we love candy corn, and I will buy it. I will set out dishes of it. My kids will eat the hell out of it, and so will I. Haters gonna hate, but it’s a Halloween tradition around here, and you can pry my Brach’s from my cold, dead hands.
Halloween Tradition #5: Kid Movie Marathon
Every year, we sit the kids down and put on It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, then Hocus Pocus. This year we’ll do the same thing. We’ll cuddle them under blanket, we’ll make popcorn, and we’ll binge on candy corn while we recite dialogue along with the screen. Those two movies are classic Halloween traditions, and my kids aren’t going without them.
Aaaaaand Adult Movie Marathon
We have a special adult Halloween tradition: every year our friends come over to watch horror movies on until one or two in the morning. Obviously, this year no one is visiting. But we have Zoom, and therefore we’re planning a simultaneous viewing of the same horror movies, with the same on-the-fly choices (Cat in the Brain!) and conversations that usually happen in person. The kids have gone to sleep, we’re sort of sugar high, and we’re going to drink and watch Halloween movies.
Halloween Tradition #7: Decorations
Halloween is the time to be super extra with skulls, cobwebs, and glitter. And this year, we’re going to do it up with every decoration we own. Halloween tradition dictates that we string the house with cotton cobwebs, complete with plastic spiders, pull out the pumpkin decor, cover every surface in skulls, and bring out the Target animatronics. There will be plastic skeletons of many varieties: human, snake, vulture. They will drape throughout my house. All the things will be spooky.
Halloween Tradition #8: Halloween Crafts!
We will do the crafts imbued with Halloween tradition: the pumpkins cut from orange construction paper with green stems and triangle eyes, the cotton-swab skeletons, the tissue ghosts (always fun: tightly rubber-band a tissue to the top of a Tootsie Pop, draw on ghosty eyes, and hand to your kids).
There Will Be Cheap Plastic Crap And Candy
I am going to hit up that catalog we get every year and buy all kinds of glow-in-the-dark crap, mini monster figures, and pens in the shape of tentacles. I will also hit Target and buy every kind of candy I love, running up an astronomical bill on sugar. We’ll put up trick-or-treating stations in the yard and let the kids move from one to the other. It wouldn’t be Halloween without a ton of candy and useless plastic stuff. In the name of Halloween tradition, I may even buy the crappy candy (Tootsie Rolls, which no one wants) just for the sake of authenticity.
Halloween Tradition #10: Costumes Are Not Optional
My kids will pick what they want to be for Halloween. I will make them whatever costume they want, even if it’s super-involved and ridiculous, and they will wear them. They will pose on the front steps, and I will flood your social media with the ensuing photographs. They will parade around the backyard in their costumes while they scoop up the candy I’ve bought. We may even go for a walk through the neighborhood, sans actual trick-or-treating, just to show them off.
And adults are not exempt. I will persuade my husband to teach his online classes wearing his walrus suit.
Halloween Tradition #11: Eating Your Kids’ Candy After They Go To Bed
I don’t think I have to elaborate on this one, because you know you do it.
Halloween Tradition #12: Discount Skull Day!
Many of you have probably never heard of this glorious Halloween tradition. Every year, on November 1, Target slashes prices on their Halloween gear to like, 99% off, because they need to tear it down and make way for Christmas. So every year, we trek to Target and sift through the leavings of frantic shoppers. We’ve bought costumes. We’ve bought plastic swords. We’ve bought the aforementioned plastic vulture skeleton and all the discount candy.
The pandemic has taken so much away from us this year. But it can’t take the bedrock of our Halloween traditions. It’ll be weird. It’ll be different. But it’ll still be Halloween.