SPOOKY SPIRIT: Despite the DGN community’s mixed plans this Halloween, a level of anticipation and enthusiasm for the approaching holiday has arisen. As a result, a number of Downers Grove residents have decorated their homes with lights, and blow-up ghouls galore. (Nicholas Hanscom)
SPOOKY SPIRIT: Despite the DGN community’s mixed plans this Halloween, a level of anticipation and enthusiasm for the approaching holiday has arisen. As a result, a number of Downers Grove residents have decorated their homes with lights, and blow-up ghouls galore.

Nicholas Hanscom

Returning Festivities: Community revives Halloween traditions, remains ambivalent about holiday

November 6, 2021

According to an Omega poll taken by 293 DGN students through Google Forms, 23.3 percent more students will go trick-or-treating or are considering trick-or-treating this year than last Halloween. Additionally, this Halloween, 40.6 more students will attend a Halloween party or are considering going to a Halloween party than last year. 

With three vaccines now approved, fewer COVID-19 cases occurring and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci supporting a more traditional approach to Halloween this year, more and more members of the DGN community are turning back to their usual Halloween traditions. Yet, COVID-19 hasn’t completely gone away. That said, some people feel indifferent about this Halloween, and specific revisions and alterations like those of last Halloween will persist.

“I am so happy Halloween won’t be as restricted as it was last year. Everyone seems ecstatic about being able to celebrate [as] they have before,” Downers Grove resident Hannah Simmons said. “However, I also know the pandemic still exists and that some traditions won’t look all the same.”

Senior Mia Chen will celebrate at a friend’s house again as she has typically done in the past. Although she enjoyed Halloween outdoors with friends last year while she practiced socially distancing, she is excited to celebrate the holiday one more time with childhood friends on a more normal note during her final year of high school. 

“I’m excited for Halloween this year but also a little bit emotional. It’s senior year, so it’s my last Halloween with my friends before we all head off to college,” Chen said. “This year, we will probably be closer together and be able to go inside the house if it gets too cold. I will still bring my mask because I feel safer when breathing with a mask on, but I’m not too nervous because my friends are fully vaccinated.”

I’m excited for Halloween this year but also a little bit emotional. It’s senior year, so it’s my last Halloween with my friends before we all head off to college.”

— Mia Chen

Fine arts teacher Amy Bernard and her family will also carry out their own annual Halloween traditions.

“This year, with Halloween being on a Sunday, we will probably just lay low, let the kids go trick-or-treating and pass out candy from home,” Bernard said. “We are [also] going to a Halloween party the day before.”

Still, according to the New York Times, current data from the US Department of Health and Human Services has shown that the daily average of new COVID-19 cases exceeded more than two thousand this week. Consequently, some members of the DGN community have shared indifferent thoughts about Halloween. 

“I am really excited for Halloween this year because I think it will be a lot of fun to go trick-or-treating and pass out candy after I didn’t do it last year,” junior Helen Parker said. “Of course, I have hesitation toward [the holiday] because people are probably going to be around a lot of people who may have COVID-19, which could certainly increase the number of cases of [the virus].”

For some, pandemic-related concerns have led them to partake in revised activities not much unlike those they took part in last Halloween. As a result, Downers Grove resident Joseph Ford will take it easy for the holiday this year and try to avoid socializing with people in person due to his health complications.

“I have respiratory issues, so I will be staying in for Halloween this year,” Ford said. “I’ll probably just leave a bowl of candy outside for kids or shoot the candy through a pipe down my staircase to avoid getting too close to people.”

However, whether people bring back former traditions or celebrate differently to accommodate the community’s health and well-being, Simmons brought attention to what ultimately matters about Halloween. 

“No matter what people do this Halloween, the one critical thing is to have fun,” Simmons said. “It’s been another rough year of the pandemic, and enjoying ourselves and doing what is right for us this Halloween—whatever that might look like—is key to defeating this pandemic.”

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