Oct. 31 has gone from scary fun to just plain scary.
Adults may understand it, but the kids won’t. So it’s up to us parents to make them a Halloween that will be different but still let our kids celebrate in some fashion. All the members of my extended family have decided to stay at home and have a Zoom party for the kids (and a cocktail party for the adults). Yes, all the holidays will be different this year.
In my village, there is one neighborhood that usually goes all out, and everyone goes to this one place (including out-of-towners) because of the great job it does with haunted houses, cotton candy, police on horseback, and kids in costumes galore — but not this year.
I am sure some people will try to ignore the fact that there is a deadly virus in the air and will keep their lights on and open their doors. Others will choose to put up a blockade and turn out the lights. I’d go in the middle and leave out a bowl of candy with a sign saying, “Please take one,” and hope that makes those who do venture out a tiny bit happy.
Almost everybody is feeling the pain of the pandemic in one way or another, and this is a prime example. Many people feel it is their right to party, and as we have seen, they will exercise it whenever possible.
Memorial Day, July Fourth, Labor Day — all brought out too many people congregating at a time in one place. Halloween will be just as dangerous if we don’t exercise a little self-control. I like my Indiana Jones getup and candy too, but I’m not going to risk getting sick for a street party, even on a Saturday night.
Plus, it’s just a few days before the most highly contested election in my lifetime, and emotions will be high. But this is no excuse for partying in public or other unsafe behavior. The virus won’t care which side you are on, and the election results won’t matter to you if you’re on a ventilator.
I’d rather be around for Thanksgiving, so I’m going to stay at home with my wife and watch “Ghostbusters” on Halloween night, and our family will all be on Zoom together. Who knows? Maybe that will become a new family tradition.
If you get a little creative and take in that this is a very difficult time, going a little low-key may strike you as the healthiest and easiest thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones. This fall and winter, please take precautions, get a flu shot and stay healthy.
This is not the time to tempt fate. It is the time to accept the limitations of being human and protect our very lives.
There’s always next year. This Halloween, let’s all play dress-up at home, watch some not-so-scary movies, and eat sweets. It’s a good evening to celebrate being a family or just being alive.
So have fun, don’t isolate, but play it safe, and I’ll leave the lights on for you next year.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., LMFT, is an award-winning therapist and writer. He is a columnist, blogger and the author of seven books, including the newly released “Visualization For Success — 75 Psychological Empowerment Exercises To Get You What You Want In Life.” Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.