Since the beginning of the pandemic, people have adapted celebrations and holidays to a new normal — and Halloween won’t be an exception.
Halloween isn’t canceled — however, the public will need to follow guidelines to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced in an Oct. 1 press conference.
The mayor banned congregations, house parties and haunted houses. To celebrate safely, Lightfoot said Chicagoans will be required to wear masks and trick-or-treating groups should consist of six people or less. Candy should only be eaten at home after washing one’s hands and candy-givers should use hand sanitizer frequently, per the guidelines.
Lightfoot also revealed the city will be hosting virtual and in-person Halloween related events between Oct. 26 and Oct. 31. The details for the events will be released here on Oct. 18.
“We really want to give our kids something to look forward to,” Lightfoot said. “That’s why we are proud to announce an entire week of safe and healthy Halloween related activities here in Chicago. We are calling it Halloweek.”
Rogers Park resident Lara Blumstein, who plans to take her kids trick-or-treating, said she’s content with the guidelines the city released for Halloween.
“Being outdoors and maintaining social distancing is the safest way for the kids and parents to celebrate the holiday,” Blumstein said. “And being indoors, parties, haunted houses and things like that are not safe, so I think it is a good reflection of safe practice and takes into consideration of the needs of the children to have some joy and normalcy in their lives.”
Tracy Mogan-Kalman, who’s following social distancing rules strictly, said she feels uncomfortable taking her children trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. However, she said she’s made plans to celebrate Halloween with her kids at her Rogers Park home.
“We are going to have our own family party,” Mogan-Kalman said. “We are going to do pumpkins obviously, play games, do some decorating, watch scary movies, have candy, possibly do a version of an easter egg hunt with Halloween candy.”
Liliana Eleanora, another Rogers Park resident, said she’s uncomfortable with anyone trick-or-treating in Rogers Park. Approving of the ban on house parties, she said she thinks it’s currently unsafe to celebrate holidays such as Halloween only because so many people were not willing to take the right steps before.
“I think that it is unfortunate and sad and hard to deal with, and hard to especially explain to children,” Eleanora said. “But I also think that it is something that we are doing to ourselves because we are not, as a whole society, doing what needs to be done to make this go away as quickly as possible like other countries have successfully done.”
The father of a 10-year-old daughter, Julian Rios said he isn’t allowing her to trick-or-treat because he is uncertain whether people in the neighborhood will follow the guidelines. Instead, he said he will plan activities with a small group of people who he knows are following guidelines.
“I understand it’s a kid-driven holiday, and my daughter is into it, so it’s definitely something we have talked about,” Rios said. “And as parents, we need to let our kids understand the importance of why there’s differences this year.”
Rios added it’s the duty of all community members to keep each other safe.
“As people, as families, as humans, we have to be responsible,” Rios said.