Halloween’s not canceled: Students find ways to get spooky this year despite COVID-19 guidelines

By Lauren Leazenby, News Editor

Lucas Martinez

Alisha Newsom was supposed to travel to New Jersey this Halloween with plans to visit a friend and go to a fall festival. But with COVID-19 cases on the rise, Newsom, a junior cinema art and science major, said she would have had to self-quarantine once getting to New Jersey instead of enjoying the festivities.

Rethinking her holiday plans, Newsom said she and her small “quarantine bubble” might drive to a cider mill in the suburbs to get in the fall spirit—but it is still not the Halloween she is used to.

“Last year, I went to like four Halloween parties,” she said. “I love Halloween and getting to have multiple costumes and that’s something I’m not able to do this year because it just doesn’t seem like it’s worth it.”

Newsom is not the only one whose plans were dashed by COVID-19. In Chicago, Halloween night has been lengthened to a “Halloweek” to reduce trick-or-treating crowds, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

For adults, Halloween is traditionally a night of bar hopping, but taverns and bars without food licenses are closed for indoor service, and starting Friday, Oct. 23 all other nonessential businesses, like restaurants, must close at 10 p.m.

According to these new restrictions, all indoor social gatherings are limited to six people, which has killed the idea of big Halloween bashes. But the holiday is not about parties this year, said Shay Van Lue, a senior marketing and cinema art and science double major.

Instead of going to the club, Van Lue said she hopes to make this Halloween memorable by focusing on her costume. She and a friend are dressing up as Jessica Rabbit and Eddie Valiant from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and are doing a photoshoot to immortalize the weird circumstances of this Halloween.

“[COVID-19] really stuck her nose up my business, but at the same time, I’m not going to let COVID get the best of me,” Van Lue said. “[On] Halloween this year, that should be the focus: reconnecting and celebrating what we have.”

Freshman filmmaking major El Concepcion said they are using the opportunity to get some good shots for Instagram. Concepcion said they are dressing up a friend as one of their favorite pop-punk artists, Yungblud.

“For me, I’m gonna splurge on some liquid latex, some body paint and just make myself look bruised and cut up and just mess around with [special effects] makeup,” they said. “I haven’t done that in a really long time.”

Concepcion said they have heard a lot of people have similar plans—dressing up for Instagram and having a “virtual costume party.” Normally, Concepcion said they would go out for Halloween, but they do not think parties are a good idea this year.

“The pandemic definitely played a role in me just staying in and taking Instagram photos,” they said.

Breianna Ryle, a senior multimedia journalism major, said she is used to the Halloween party scene, but is also staying in this year.

Ryle said she and her friends are dressing up as different decades and are having a small gathering. She is going as the 1920s, ordering pizza and watching “Twitches.” Just the opportunity to celebrate Halloween is enough, she said.

“People are saying Halloween is canceled—I don’t think so,” Ryle said. “I think I’ll still have as much fun as I want to have because, really, the small group I’m hanging out with are the people that I like to be with.”