Healthy Halloween: COVID-19 pandemic prompts students to scare up new plans to celebrate Oct. 31

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Karen Lee

An artist’s portrayal of how the coronavirus might become a danger for those who celebrate typical Halloween traditions, such as trick-or-treating.

Michelle Sheen

BOO! Ahhhh! A hair-raising shriek echoes from inside of the blood-stained building covered in cobwebs.

A group of friends dash out of the haunted maze, running from the zombies chasing after them while giggling in terror.

Meanwhile, children and adults parade through neighborhoods, scaring their friends while carrying baskets full of candy and sporting an assortment of costumes. 

From ghosts and fairies to mummies and vampires, Halloween is a holiday that gives people the opportunity to dress up in costumes and join others in the common festivities of pumpkin carving, decorating houses, trick-or-treating and more.

However, the traditional spooky celebrations that call for large groups of people have been dramatically slashed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Knott’s Scary Farm in Buena Park, Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion in Anaheim and the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor in Long Beach are among those fallen victim to COVID-19’s health and safety guidelines.

To compensate for such lost, group scare fun, some Sunny Hills students have found new coronavirus-safe ways to enjoy Oct. 31.

Unlike last year when junior Ashley Woo joined a larger group of friends on their trick-or-treating venture around her Fullerton neighborhood, Woo said she plans to go to her friend’s Fullerton house along with two other friends while still upholding COVID-19 safety guidelines. 

“Even though [trick-or-treating] might not be possible, I want to dress up with my closest friends,” Woo said. “I’ve seen a lot of Halloween costume ideas on TikTok that I want to try out, so my friends and I are going to be dressing up as fairies this year.”

Woo said she and her friends are going to be making and personalizing their own fairy wings with wire clothes hangers, fabric and glitter, and that they will be taking self-timer pictures with a tripod. She plans on wearing a green slip dress with fairy wings and twinning with her three friends from her wrestling team in matching attire — each friend wearing a separate color.

“After getting permission from all of our parents, we pledged to have an exciting and safe time,” she said. 

Woo said she and her friends are then going to bake a red velvet cake decorated with red frosting to imitate blood, bring snacks and candy to share and take more pictures while playing spooky music like “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

“We’ll be wearing our masks and washing our hands on that day to make sure we stay safe,” Woo said. “Meeting up with friends is already risky, so we’re also monitoring ourselves and practicing social distancing, and we’re honestly thinking about getting COVID tests this week.”

However, students like senior Paul Dhillon don’t have any special Halloween plans and instead are spending the day focusing on school.

“Last year, I went to a friend’s house, where his family hosted a party and greeted trick-or-treaters, but this year, I plan on spending Halloween working on college applications” said Dhillon, who would’ve taken part in Halloween activities if it wasn’t for COVID-19. “I just hope that [those who celebrate Halloween] stay safe while having fun and don’t contribute to coronavirus cases.”

Meanwhile, senior Kristin Valido plans on hanging out with her softball team of ten people from 5-7 p.m. to celebrate Halloween and bond with her teammates.

“I’m pumpkin carving with my softball team at my house in [La Mirada],” said Valido, who didn’t take part in any Halloween activities last year. “We’re going to be outdoors and social distancing because my mom is a nurse. … She’s very strict on safety.”

Her teammates are bringing their own supplies and Valido is supplying them with utensils to carve the pumpkins while jamming to Halloween-themed music. They plan on keeping the meeting short and leaving right after carving their pumpkins because of safety reasons.

Likewise, sophomore Ellen Chun wants to celebrate Halloween with her friend by following an ongoing TikTok trend of taking pictures dressed up as a ghost in a simple costume consisting of white sheets.

“There are a lot of [trends] on TikTok, and I see a bunch of people dressing up, so those videos gave me a lot of inspiration for Halloween,” Chun said.