Halloween may look a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not preparing the same way! I’m watching scary movies, struggling over what I’ll dress up as, and eating too much candy. And yes, I do have a costume for my dog before I have one for myself.
My point is, Halloween may have fewer spooky punch bowls and fewer trick-or-treaters this year, but that’s okay. I’m still excited for all hallows eve. The Coronavirus still weighs heavy on our minds, as it should, but we can get through this together with some spooky social-distancing and haunted handwashing.
Before we talk about what the holiday looks like in 2020, let’s talk a little bit more about how it all started.
Halloween began with an ancient Celtic festival where people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. The festival was called Samhain (pronounced sow-in) and it marked the end of summer, the end of harvest, and the beginning of the cold, dark winter. The Celts believed that on this night, the living world and the dead world blended, allowing ghosts to return to Earth. They believed it was the returning spirits that damaged their crops at the end of harvest, not the colder weather.
Later, Pope Gregory III declared November 1 as a day to honor saints. The two celebrations began to blend, having the night before All Saints Day became All Hallows Eve, which eventually turned into Halloween.
There are many things that make this year's Halloween look very different from the first few. The expansive array of costumes, the modern delicious candy, but the big difference this year is the global pandemic. So, how do we celebrate All Hallows Eve without putting ourselves or others at risk?
The CDC has some information on their website about Halloween, and holidays in general, during the Coronavirus pandemic. I have picked and summarized a few of their points.
- Celebrating virtually is always an option and a much lower risk
- If you do have a small gathering, yourself and your guests will be safer in an outdoor setting
- Limit the number of guests as well as the duration of the event
- If you are inviting people into your home, find out if they’ve been social distancing, mask-wearing, and handwashing
- Find out if anyone has had any possible symptoms before inviting them
Staying safe is our first priority this Halloween, but an important second priority is figuring out how to celebrate without having a bigger impact on the planet. These are some ways that I’m going to try to celebrate a greener Halloween in 2020.
- Make costumes from recycled or thrift materials and clothes! This is your chance to be really creative! Don’t purchase a finished, polished costume from the Halloween store. Instead, decide what you want to be and challenge yourself to find the materials in your closet and at your local thrift store.
- Cut old egg cartons and milk jugs into bats and skeletons for some sustainable decorations!
- If your kids are going trick or treating, try to avoid getting those hard plastic pumpkins for them to collect candy in. That hard, thick plastic never breaks down in the landfill. Instead, give them an old pillow-case or tote bag to DIY! Plus, they can hold a lot more candy!
- If you’re carving pumpkins, use the whole thing! Roast the seeds! Save the pumpkin to make a pie! It’s much more worthwhile than letting them rot on your front porch, which I am definitely guilty of doing.
No matter how you celebrate, or even if you don’t celebrate, remember to be kind to each other and stay safe!