Halloween: Is It Safe?

Will Leitch
5 min readOct 23, 2020

This is our new weekly pandemic feature: Is It Safe, where we ask you what you’re comfortable with in the age of COVID-19, and what you aren’t. Read our primer to understand the concept. And email me your thoughts at williamfleitch@yahoo.com. This week: Halloween.

We are just more than a week away from a Halloween unlike any other. While adults experience Halloween parties as a way to wear tight clothes while drinking with strangers — something one would hope is being avoided this year — this is, at its core, a holiday for children. As the parent of a third grader and a first grader, I’ve been hearing about how desperately they’re looking forward to Halloween since last Halloween. People give you candy, you get to pretend you’re somebody else for a night, you get to stay up late … it’s the perfect kid holiday.

But COVID is here, and many cities and municipalities have canceled Halloween this year. The holiday does not necessarily require an official endorsement, of course, but it’s a question every family is asking right now: Should we do Halloween this year? In this week’s installment of Is It Safe? I want to look at it from a personal standpoint. What are the arguments for going? What are the arguments against it? Last week, I asked you for your thoughts on the matter. Having read through all of them, these are the best arguments for each side.

PRO

  1. It’s outside, and it’s very easy to keep distance from everyone involved. By all accounts, outdoor activities are far safer at reducing virus transmission than indoor activities, and there isn’t much more “outdoor” than trick-or-treating: By definition, you never go inside. It is not difficult for a family to go up to a front door, take some candy left outside by a neighbor, wave to them from the porch or front steps and then go onto the next house. “This isn’t difficult,” one respondent said. “This is about a thousand times safer than eating inside at a restaurant, and you see that on every street corner every day of the year.” This was a common refrain: “This is a socially distanced activity by design,” one said. “People are being ridiculous.”
  2. It’s a way to connect with your community in a way we haven’t been able to for months. Maybe you’ve had a friend over for socially distanced drinks on the porch, or maybe you’ve eaten outside at…

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Will Leitch

Author of six books, including “How Lucky” and "The Time Has Come." NYMag/MLB.. Founder, Deadspin. https://williamfleitch.substack.com