A Tricky Time to Trick-or-Treat

    On October 31, a few gaggles of robe-wrapped kids will roam the streets. Sugar rushes will be achieved, yet the madly dashing toddlers of years past will be absent. This year, COVID-19 has dramatically changed how people will celebrate Halloween.

     The CDC recommends Halloween activity alternatives such as outdoor haunted hikes, socially distant costume parades, and family-centered candy treasure hunts. In essence: now is the time to bring out those old movie projectors, lawn chairs and white blankets!

     Jordan Leibig ‘21 had planned to trick or treat with her younger cousins. She is now having a costumed, socially distant meetup with a couple friends. Though the plans subsequently fell through, Jordan had been planning a pumpkin carving meet-up as well.

     Halloween turns ordinary towns into meccas of creativity. While kids craft their own costumes of duct tape and cardboard, houses are decked out in cheesy, creepy splendor. This year is a prime opportunity to draw on that brain power and passion to create new activities or bring back old ones.

     At its roots, Halloween is a holiday based on change. According to Time magazine, it originated as the pagan Celtic festival of Samhain. This festival was later co-opted by the Catholic Church as All Saint’s Day. Samhain, like Halloween, was celebrated as fall inexorably wound its way into winter. There was an acknowledgement of the days growing shorter and darker, and the challenge of storing crops for winter. More likely than not, this was a time of true anxiety for the families struggling to stockpile food. However, the Celts were aware that the lean time of winter is part of a cycle. Summer will return. Secure in that knowledge, Samhain was a time of dancing and celebration, as well as appeasement through sacrifice and prayer.

     In 2020, the whole United States is undergoing lean times. In a literal sense, there are many who are entering the cold months of winter without housing, food or certain pay. Psychologically, no one knows what will come next. Fenwick students may well have to endure isolating stretches when it’s too cold outside to safely see friends or family. However, as the Celts knew, the winter will not last forever. There will be celebrations, during and after. Spring will come, and with it new medical innovations and new hope. This year, Halloween will be celebrated with an awareness of the gravity of lean times, but that does not mean the celebration must be any less joyous.