Cynthia L. Eppley 11/01/2020
A COVID Halloween
Certainly you remember the excitement on that day of days: October 31. You may have had a party in school, and even a parade through the parking lot. But that was all secondary.
The big event came at home.
Dinner couldn’t get over fast enough, as you raced to down the last noodle or vegetable.
There was candy to collect! Houses to visit! And the mystery of walking through darkened streets.
You had considered for days, even weeks your costume. Would it be the store bought one? As we got older, the handmade version was more creative, whimsical, and fun. And parents everywhere would search high and low for the correct props to make the costume “just right.”
Please, please don’t change your mind right before Halloween!
A Different Halloween
This year was no different: or was it?
Some schools are not in session. Some are virtual.
I called our Borough to find out what was the “Official” stance on “Trick or Treat.” Was it happening? How do we keep a distance?
But wait: certainly we can still do Halloween?
And so that was when great minds came together to develop a plan.
Most of the people on our street were setting out a table with goodies galore.
The idea was this—the children could come collect their stash, while we stood safely behind the glass screen door.
A few neighbors set up a fire pit on the driveway, complete with blankets and drinks— Drinks ranging from hot cocoa to a cold brew.
Another neighbor decorated her front stoop and wrote in chalk on the sidewalk: Welcome! Candy! And she drew footprints to remember “6 ft. apart.”
Still another neighbor set up a white screen and showed scary images. And then there was the fog machine: enough spookiness for any child.
But the best solution was across the street.
Remembering that they should keep their distance, they developed a delivery system that ran a long plastic tube out the front of the house. But here is where the genius came in: It emptied onto a green slide. Candy would slide through the tube, dump onto the slide, and careen downhill, bumping along the way.
Kids waited at the bottom to see their special delivery drop into their hands.
As we set out our candy and decorated our table, I eagerly anticipated the first group. I could hear them before I saw them:
“Candy! We gotta get the candy!”
Looking up the street, we could see kids streaming up driveways. Then they’d turn and race to the next house, eager to get their buckets filled.
Spending time with these little ones has always been a highlight of Halloween. And this year was no different.
Standing behind the table, 6 feet away, I’d mention their costume:
“Wow! You must be a Superhero!”
Now, I’m out of touch with the most recent trends, so this was my generic praise. I had no idea who they represented, and since they were wearing masks, their muffled explanation didn’t help me. But I could mention their strong muscles. For the boys, that would get a good reaction.
“What a beautiful Princess you are!”
Again, no idea which princess this could be. But their smile and twirl was enough to let me know I’d come close enough.
Things change, and Things Stay the Same
Isn’t it funny that in these times, things have changed so much.
And yet things have stayed the same.
Kids still love candy, and want to be encouraged, recognized and praised.
Parents wanted to have their kids out to experience the thrill of being out in a costume at night, marauding through the neighborhood.
Adults called out to one another. A congenial, warm atmosphere prevailed.
Yes, there were political signs on the lawn.
Yes, there are differences.
And yes, there will be an election in 2 days.
But the bottom line?
Really, we all want the same for our kids.
We all want health, and food and warmth and a good education. How we arrive at all of those things may differ.
But for one magical night, we suspended differences to allow our kids to just be kids. Racing from one home to another, on a brisk October night, their hopes were realized. And for this year? Amidst all the negative things about 2020?
Perhaps this very thing is a positive highlight of 2020.