During Halloweekend, the real spooky scare came from the posts that I saw across social media. On Halloween night and throughout the weekend, I saw dozens of posts with pictures of people dressed up in costume. During a normal year, I’d be right there alongside them, celebrating one of my favorite holidays by attending multiple parties, handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, watching spooky movies and baking fun Halloween treats. However, this year, weighed down by frustrated, jaded exhaustion from COVID-19, I did none of those things.
Many of the pictures that I saw showed people in large groups without masks on or breaking social distancing guidelines. The CDC listed Halloween parties with masks and social distancing as a “moderate risk” activity and termed costume parties without safety precautions “high risk.” These classifications mean that an ordinary Halloween costume party could now rapidly spread a deadly virus.
While these parties aren’t illegal in Montana, they are certainly immoral. By celebrating Halloween (and the rest of the holiday season) as if we weren’t in the midst of a pandemic, people are tacitly stating that their fun is more important than someone else’s health.
It’s embarrassing to see how some groups are handling the COVID-19 pandemic. So many of us have been careful for such a long time. I personally know friends who have been taking precautions, including wearing masks and socially distancing, since March. People have given up nine months of their ordinary lives to keep you safe, and you reward them by hosting parties with few or no safety precautions while hundreds of thousands of Americans die?
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to celebrate the holidays. As The Atlantic reminded us in an article titled “Quarantine Fatigue is Real,” it’s important to remember that “risk is not binary.” Our choices aren’t limited to complete isolation or a total return to pre-pandemic normalcy.
Instead, just follow health guidelines. Wear a mask, socially distance, and be responsible about your own health and the health of others. Realize that your actions have consequences and do your best to mitigate them. And remember: wash your hands.