Halloween with a Vengeance

I could not believe how many kids were out trick-or-treating in our neighborhood this year. Or how many households were handing out candy. There were more kids even than a normal Halloween, through fewer houses active than usual.

We weren’t even sure of our plans as late as Sunday afternoon. We’d carved pumpkins on Saturday, we’d put the skeleton in the big hole in the floor (not that anyone but us could see it), but we weren’t sure whether we’d be taking the kid trick-or-treating, or whether anyone would be knocking on our door.

Toward the end of the afternoon we set up a table on the front lawn with our jack-o-lanterns and two trays of goodies (one candy, one party favors as an allergy-friendly alternative). We put on masks as a precaution, and took turns taking the kid trick-or-treating.

We ran out of candy.

We ran out of toys.

There were so many groups of kids, some as big as a dozen, and they kept coming for several hours after sunset.

I figure it’s probably a reaction to last year’s locked-down holiday.

Covid-19 hasn’t gone away. The pandemic isn’t anywhere near over. But cases in Los Angeles County have been trending downward from a peak way back in August, and our area has around 80% vaccination coverage among those 12 and up. Schools have gone back to in-person instruction, with masks indoors, distancing guidelines, and quarantine rules for students and staff who are exposed. The elementary schools even brought back their Halloween parade, though they split it by age group and only allowed staff and students onsite to reduce crowding.

The coronavirus isn’t gone. It’s still a constant presence. But for the moment, it feels more manageable than this time last year. At least here.

So people handed out candy, and kids went trick-or-treating, and parents went along with them. Maybe a third were wearing masks.

But we’re getting tested later this week, just in case. Outdoors or not, it was still a crowd.

Update: We didn’t catch Covid from trick-or-treating! (or from the plumbers for that matter)

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.