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Spooky season looks a little different this year

By Alaina Burris
On October 2, 2020

Photo by Alaina Burris

Oh fall, how everyone has come to love your association with Halloween: haunted houses, trick-or-treating, some cute (some scary) costumes. Spending time goofing off with your friends at pumpkin patches, going to costume parties; spooky season is here.


But … that’s not how this year is going to go. It can’t be how this year goes. 


Haunted houses have introduced social distancing. Some have even evaded opening this year. Trick-or-treating has been told to be put on hold, but kids can still go around with their families looking at the Halloween decorations instead of getting candy from each house on the block. Costume masks are advised to be avoided, but continue to wear your daily masks.


Some pumpkin patches decided to open, but many of their annual activities are canceled for the year. Parties are already a big no-no, so costume parties are definitely not on the radar. Everything is so much different this year and feels so out of the ordinary. 


Just because the world around us has changed doesn’t mean that we necessarily have to. While things are being canceled and avoided, we can overcome and adapt to how 2020 has changed everything, while keeping everyone safe and following the recommended guidelines. 


If you are a thrill seeker and you love haunted houses, try substituting this year’s traditional visit with a horror movie night. While “The Conjuring” or “It” can’t replace the true thrill of making your way through an in-person haunted house, watching scary movies keeps you safe from 2020’s biggest horror moment: COVID-19. If scary movies aren’t quite your thing, keep it upbeat with “The Nightmare Before Christmas” or “Halloweentown.”  


Haunted houses/movies aren’t quite your Halloween thing, but giving out candy is? Well, it’s been warned against this year. But giving out candy doesn’t have to stop entirely. There is an activity that college students can do in their dorm buildings called “You’ve Been Booed!” This activity involves creating a basket with various goodies inside, such as candy, glow sticks, etc., with a “You’ve Been Booed!” sign to explain what it is. From there on, the basket is placed in front of someone else’s door for their room to receive that gift, and within a couple of days, they should build a basket of their own to give to another room. This activity promotes togetherness in this time of separation and can also bring optimism to the pessimistic time we are currently in. Below is a copy of a "You've Been Booed!" activity sheet.

Photo courtesy of


If you are in quarantine/isolation, giving out a Boo Basket isn’t exactly something you can do. However, if you are a big dress-up person and love costumes, this next idea is for you. Since Halloween costumes are being recommended to avoid this year, it doesn’t entirely mean that we have to avoid them. This year, instead of going out and buying one, see what kind of costume you can make from what it is already in your closet. This can be a game with your friends and roommates, too, to see who can make the best costume from what they already have. Plus, with how everything is right now, instead of going to an actual costume party, host a Zoom costume party call with these costumes that you made in your room. 


For a pumpkin patch, I know a lot of people enjoy going to take artsy fall pictures, but that might not be the best thing to do this year. Fall pictures can be taken anywhere, but if you would like to actually get a pumpkin instead of just taking pictures, there are so many places that you can do that, aside from just a pumpkin patch. For example, Price Chopper is selling both pie pumpkins as well as full-sized pumpkins; there is also a local farmer selling pumpkins in the parking lot behind McDonald’s and in front of Dollar General. That way you can shop local, too.


Just because everything else looks different this year doesn’t mean we have to put all of the celebration on hold. There are so many alternatives to the “normal” way we do things that might just have to become our new normal. While not every alternative is a good one for everybody, you might just find one that fits for you.


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