Halloween costume — check

Face covering — check

Outdoor gathering with fewer than 15 people — check

Scary movie night with your pod — check

This year, the coronavirus pandemic haunts traditional Halloween celebrations. But don’t let it scare away your Halloween fun.

By planning ahead and following public health guidelines, it’s still possible to have an exciting and safe All Hallows Eve.

The key is making a plan ahead of time. Don’t wait until Oct. 31 to decide how you’re going to celebrate, said Kelsey O’Hara-Marasigan, who is assistant director of student wellness at Hokie Wellness.

Students should talk with their friends to determine before Halloween what safe activities that they feel comfortable doing together.

“It allows you to have something fun to look forward to, and it helps people stick to what their values are around the pandemic,” said O’Hara-Marasigan. “What I find is that without deciding for yourself what feels best, you end up with an option that is not ideal. I don’t want people isolated on Halloween, where they feel bummed or left out. The more that they plan ahead, the easier those boundary conversations are.”

To ensure safety for Halloween, it’s best to avoid large crowds, stay outdoors, and attend gatherings of fewer than 15 people, said Amy Epperley, director of Hokie Wellness. In particular, avoid spending time in closed spaces with poor ventilation. 

“If you are going to have a small gathering, please make sure it is outside,” she said.

As for wearing costumes, be creative and make sure to pair your getup with a face covering that goes over the mouth and nose when in public, Epperley said.

Consider a costume bike parade with friends or host a Zoom costume party or pumpkin carving contest, she said.

Epperley also encouraged students to visit local pumpkin patches or apple orchards.

Moderating alcohol consumption, or skipping it altogether, is a good practice so that people can make decisions clearly. If hosting a gathering, remember to provide drinks in individual containers to prevent the spread of germs, said O’Hara-Marasigan.

Overall, it is important that everyone remain vigilant about public health practices.

“As we approach eight months into the pandemic, we are starting to get tired of the things that are continually being asked of us,” Epperley said. “What we really need to do is stand firm in our commitment to health and safety more than ever.”

Check out some of the following Halloween events on campus and virtually this weekend through Oct. 31:

Take and Make Masks: Monday, Oct. 26, and Wednesday, Oct. 28, Virginia Tech Perspective Gallery (Squires)

Halloween Escape Room - Thursday, Oct. 29 (virtual), 5 p.m.

Halloween HIIT - Friday, Oct. 30, 4 p.m., Prairie Quad

“Halloweentown” - Friday, Oct. 30, 7 p.m., Dietrick Field

Paranormal Paint Party on the Drillfield - Saturday, Oct. 31, 1 p.m., Drillfield (outside War Memorial Chapel)

By Jenny Kincaid Boone

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