COVID puts scary twist on Halloween


Kim Klawitter, Staff Writer

The coronavirus has put a new scary twist on Halloween.

As the COVID-19 rates are rising in Illinois, lots of kids and teenagers alike are picking out their costumes and gearing up for the annual candy-fueled fright-fest. But is this the safest option for kids? And should they be more scared of this invisible fright than a creature of the night?

Illinois’ positivity rates have risen considerably since schools and businesses started opening up again. Due to the increase in cases in Mchenry County and Illinois, schools have already shut down after only being partially open for two weeks. 

Without full-time academics during the day to keep students busy and extracurricular activities canceled, students are left with a considerable amount of time on their hands. With nothing else to do, they’ve resorted to social gatherings, where precautionary masks and social distancing are slim to non-existent. As Halloween draws nearer and plans become more solidified, the question remains, will the athletes and students with “nothing more to lose” continue to act irresponsibly?

The Center for Disease Control has warned against “attending crowded costume parties held indoors” and “going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming” as those activities are high-risk. 

Instead, consider low-risk alternatives. Going door-to-door, trick or treating is “not recommended” as “it can be very difficult to maintain proper social distancing” and “because sharing food is risky.” Additionally, you never know who in your community can be high-risk, and coming into contact with so many different individuals in one night is risky and difficult, especially in terms of contact tracing. 

Moreover, is celebrating this spook-filled holiday worth it? With the majority of the Cary and Fox River Grove population split on whether to return to school, is risking increasing the infection rate worth it in the long run? 

Students and parents alike need to take a look in the mirror and make the hard decision to prioritize school and others’ safety over this fun holiday. Many traditional Halloween activities are high-risk, but here are some you can partake in while still being safe: 

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
  • Baking Halloween-inspired cookies with members of your household
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Having a Halloween movie night with the people you live with
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house-to-house


As of October 25th, there are a reported 43.4 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and 1.16 million deaths. In the United States alone, there are 8.78 million cases and 226,000 deaths. Illinois has recorded 385,000 cases and around 10,000 deaths, with McHenry County having around 7,000 cases and 126 deaths. 

As these numbers continue to rise, so do the tensions between families, school districts, friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Everyone wants what’s best for their community; however, the discrepancy lies between people’s priorities. For some it’s simply getting their kids back to in-person schooling, for others it’s returning to sports, and others will say it’s keeping people safe and alive, and none of them are wrong.

The best thing for our community is to send kids back to school and to host sporting events, to reopen local businesses and public transportation again, all while keeping everyone happy and healthy. This simply isn’t possible in today’s world. In order to obtain a sense of normalcy, we have to cooperate with the CDC’s guidelines, follow the protocols for social distancing, wear our masks when necessary, and keep our social circles small. 

With the cold and flu season upon us, it is extra important to be extremely vigilant and aware of your surroundings. When making plans, be the person who ensures the safety of others, be the person to ask someone to put a mask on, be the person to encourage social distancing. Act as if your life depends on it — because to some extent, it does.