By Luis Armando Sanchez Diaz, October 30 2020—
Since March, things have looked and been very different to what anyone expected. Nobody could have foreseen the challenges that society currently faces. Celebrations and holidays are no exception to these changes and even though humans throughout history have made adjustments for quite some time, it is still difficult to understand that we are still living with a pandemic, especially for little children.
Halloween is a celebration that has roots in the Celtic spiritual tradition. During Samhain — the festival marking the end of the harvest season — “people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts,” according to history.com. During the eighth century, Nov. 1 was designated as “All Saints Day” by Pope Gregory III. Commonly, the day before was referred to as “Hallows Eve” which over time became Halloween as we know it today.
In Canada, children go out trick-or-treating in their neighbourhoods. This involves knocking on doors to obtain treats and candies. Youngsters and adults of all ages typically attend party venues dressed up in costumes or wearing masks, or, those who like to stay-at-home can lay on their couch and watch a horror movie while grabbing a cup of tea, coffee or even a glass of wine — if you’re of legal age to do so.
The latter options fit perfectly with the current moment thanks to the confinement we are currently in. But it certainly isn’t for everyone particularly if you have kids who are eagerly waiting for this date so they can dress-up in their favourite princess, hero, monster or movie character costume and go out to collect enough candy to eat for weeks to come. Kids want to live the experience of trick-or-treating and the excitement of looking at the decorations on their friends and neighbour’s houses.
Unfortunately, this year things will have to be different for the common good of Canadians and many others around the world. In Canada, COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the country.
“Though the cumulative number is high and continues to increase, it is important to remember that the vast majority of Canadians remain susceptible to COVID-19,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer.
Parents need to start having “the talk” with their kids explaining that this year they might not be celebrating the typical Halloween that they are used to. Things will be delivered differently, and each household needs to come up with a different alternative to what kids were expecting while trying to preserve the emotion that this season brings.
Given the current situation, I strongly urge you to consider staying at home this Halloween and the holidays that follow. For your own well-being, stay at home and try to persuade your family members and peers to do the same. If you have a gathering with family or neighbours, make it small and make sure that you have followed the preventive measures like keeping your distance from one another and following all public health guidelines regarding the number of people allowed at a gathering.
Think about your community, particularly all the healthcare workers that have put their lives at risk to attend to infected patients and others with different diseases. Think about the country and the future that’s ahead of us. We need to keep up the effort to socially distance from others to prevent more outbreaks and for the economy to recover.
Society reinvents its traditions every so often according to the context that prevails during that period. This pandemic has forced us all to adapt our habits and actions to a temporary new reality. This upcoming Halloween and the celebrations that follow are going to be anything but normal and certainly not at all the same as we’ve been used to.
It’s in our hands to make the best out of this experience. Staying at home, constantly washing our hands or wearing a face mask are part of our new way of living our daily lives. But remember, it’s one that’s not going to last forever.
This article is part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet’s editorial board.