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.
Patterns found online and carved by the mom-and-son team.
The kiddo managed to get another Halloween out of last year’s homemade Minecraft Spider Jockey costume. But it’s not easy to run around and play in, so we offered to buy him an alternate for parties, and he chose Ant-Man. Curiously, the costume didn’t come with gloves, so Katie took a pair of plain black gloves and attached controls to them.
It’s a good thing we had it, though, because the straps on the spider started digging into his shoulders a couple of blocks into trick-or-treating and he wanted to come home early. (But not before running into a Steve? in diamond armor!)
Cue the alternate costume!
Oh, and check out this year’s pumpkin carving as well! Hardly anyone saw it, because all the trick-or-treating action seemed to be a block away, and no one walked up to our door until 9:00.
Ant-Man’s helmet is carved on a real pumpkin. The goofy face on the right is a plastic one from a few years back.
Homemade spider jockey costume (a composite Minecraft monster consisting of a skeleton archer riding a giant spider). Kid-sized, built by Katie (I assisted, mainly with painting, but the design, planning, and most of the construction was her).
Mostly cardboard, covered with paper to smooth it out and provide a painting surface. Heavy fabric and dowels to form the frame for the center of the spider body, with paracord to hold the legs on. For the skeleton: felt panels, some pinned to a black shirt, some to the suspenders. Which, incidentally, were made from old Comic-Con lanyards.
For Halloween, enjoy this spooky tree at Madrona Marsh.
Our neighborhood saw a lot more trick-or-treaters tonight than we have in years. By 8:00 kids were walking back to the sidewalk from our door shouting to their friends, “Hey, they still have candy!” It was pure chance that I bought extra this afternoon, and I’m glad I did.