Category Archives: Pandemic Diary

Distant Halloween

Halloween was weird this year.

OK, everything has been weird this year. I mean, I’ve been in the same place as my parents only once since…February? January? I forget. We stood out in their front yard one evening this summer, 10 feet apart, talking for about an hour. Hooray for living in a time when video calling is commonplace and not just science fiction.

Anyway, Halloween. All the usual events were canceled, and health departments recommended against, you know, walking around and interacting at close range with lots of people while Covid-19 is still spreading widely in the community. California state guidelines are actually saying you should avoid gatherings of people from more than three households. The local elementary school still let kids wear costumes on the video chat if they wanted, and they had some games they could play, but there was no costume parade like in most years, and of course no class party.

So, no community events, no school events, no parties (I’m sure there were some, but none close enough to hear), and no trick-or-treating. I mean, we’ve had years when most kids just bypassed the building because it’s not clear from the sidewalk where the apartments’ doors are. But there was no one. At all. Not even groups walking by. That was weird.

But decorations…That’s something you can do without physically getting close to lots of people. So a lot of people around here did put up Halloween displays, ranging from one or two fake tombstones to a full circus of evil clowns. One house kept adding more inflatable figures every time I walked by it. Katie wondered if they were adding one a day like an advent calendar.

We ended up not putting up any decorations ourselves and just had a kind of low-key evening at home. Though playing Among Us — a game where you either try to kill everyone or try to escape the killers — seemed a good fit.

Too Soon, Comic-Con

Earlier this week we were talking about cosplay ideas for when we can finally go back to comic conventions. Literally the next day, I read that LA Comic-Con is planning an in-person convention in December.


I don’t care that they’re limiting attendance, requiring masks and distancing, and keeping it at the cavernous LA Convention Center. Knowing what we know now, December is going to be way too soon.

As much as we’ve learned about how this coronavirus spreads and attacks, and ways to mitigate both, the pandemic is not under control now. It’s not likely to be under control by December. Even if we were doing everything perfectly — and we aren’t, there are too many people in the US especially who think medical advice is for other people — there’d probably still be another wave this fall and winter.

“But what about a vaccine?” Heh. Sure. OK, a vaccine. Even if a Covid vaccine has passed through all the rushed trials by then, and actually works, it still takes time to ramp up production and distribution, and for actual doses to take effect, which means the general population is still going to be vulnerable in December, and this is a perfect super-spreader event. Assuming they don’t need to use the convention center as a field hospital again.

It’s kind of a Hail Mary anyway, since there’s no provision in the state’s reopening plan to re-allow that size of event even in the least-restricted tier based on case rates. They’re basically planning it in hopes that the rules will change by the time December rolls around.

But they’re selling tickets already. Without knowing whether they can hold the event. Which really rubs me the wrong way.

Honestly I’m not surprised that of the various LA-area cons it’s them that wants to jump the gun. They’ve always struck me as kinda snake-oily. The way they kept acting like other cons in the area didn’t exist. (What, Long Beach Comic Con? Please, they’re in Long Beach, not L.A.!) Paying Stan Lee to let them use his name back when it was Comikaze Expo. The worst was the reality show they had on SyFy back in 2013, which was at least a few years ago.

But selling tickets for a convention for winter during a pandemic when there’s no provision for actually holding a convention within public health recommendations? That might be a new low.

Update Oct. 14: The event is officially re-cancelled for the year, with some of the guests already scheduled for 2021. Tickets can optionally be refunded or saved for next year. The more I think about it, the more I think they were hoping to get at least some revenue in this year, even if it ends up being just a super-early pre-sale for next fall.

Wearing is Caring

Free-standing temporary sign on a sidewalk corner proclaiming WEARING IS CARING and showing two cartoon people, one with short hair and the other with long hair, wearing face masks covering their mouths and nose.

Every city around here has its own publicity and enforcement schemes for Covid-19 safety, though the criteria and general requirements are mostly decided at the county or state level. I haven’t gotten out to El Segundo much since the pandemic hit, so I hadn’t seen their “Wearing is Caring” slogan until this weekend.