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Looking Back on Halloween: How the October holiday was celebrated amidst COVID-19.

Halloween has always been one of my favorite ways to celebrate the fall season, but this year looked a little different than it normally would.

This year’s Halloween had to be scaled down significantly due to COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing. Everyone had to get a little more creative on more than just their costumes. Instead of the usual costume party, my celebration was more intimate to ensure safety in the midst of the pandemic.

As I am continuing this semester remotely from my home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, my friend and I decided to plan something small. We went to the grocery store and bought all the supplies to bake our favorite fall treats: pumpkin muffins, chocolate chip cookies, candy corn popcorn and homemade pizza. After finishing up in the kitchen, we built a fort with twinkle lights, pillows and blankets.

We watched our favorite Halloween movies including Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Corpse Bride, and Rocky Horror Picture Show. The night was a lot smaller than normal, but it was still
a fun-filled night, nonetheless. This year may not have been the trick-or-treating or party that people had been hoping for, but there were plenty of ways to get creative and stay safe during these uncertain times.

Halloween night was not the only tradition that was affected by COVID-19. In my hometown, the Sea Witch Festival and Costume Parade has been a state tradition for 30 years. People from surrounding states travel to Rehoboth Beach to see the parade and participate in the fall activities. Unsurprisingly, the 2020 Sea Witch Festival was cancelled due to social-distancing guidelines and the threat of the coronavirus.

Many other traditions surrounding the Philadelphia region have been cancelled due to COVID-19 as well. Terror Behind the Walls, the annual haunted house at the Eastern State Penitentiary, was cancelled this year just like many other local events. However, the penitentiary has continued to give tours, including their Night Tours, which was new to the Eastern State Penitentiary this fall.

The penitentiary has taken health and safety measures that follow the guidelines issued by the City of Philadelphia. Tickets for the penitentiary must be purchased in advance. All staff and visitors must wear masks and maintain social distancing throughout the tours.

Despite the cancellations of many historic parades and events, visitphilly.com provided a great list of activities for families and friends to do this year. The website included attractions such as The Bates Motel, The Franklin Institute, The Philly Drive-In, Peddler’s Village and Linvilla Orchards. At the end of the article, the website made a final note reminding readers that this Halloween season would look a lot different this year. They recommended that visitors buy tickets in advance and reminded everyone to wear their masks and social distance.

Eastern University even attempted to get into the spooky spirit and keep students on campus. The Student Government Association hosted an October Fest that included ultimate frisbee, hatchet throwing, games, a food truck, a haunted maze, ninja warrior, and a screening of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. The day was filled with fun activities for everyone to enjoy.

Overall, this Halloween was not what anyone was hoping for, but everyone was expecting. There were
many cancellations of big, traditional events, but there were a lot of new traditions being made too. This Halloween gave everyone a reason to remember the previous years and wish for different circumstances next year.

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