Halloween: COVID-19 Edition

Danyale Schlender


Photo by Danyale Schlender

Here are some Halloween at-home activities to have a spooky time and keep safe

Danyale Schlender, The Scroll, Features Editor

While not advised by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention Center and most health officials, Governor Gavin Newson publicly addressed that trick-or-treating this year is permitted. With this year’s curveballs, unsafe trick-or-treating is believed to be the “plot twist” that has hit people of all ages, but there is still hope! Though most were looking forward to the joy of trick-or-treating or Halloween parties, there are safe and socially distant alternatives. The following are activities that can keep Halloween festive:

Movie Marathons

One of the most popular ideas to substitute trick-or-treating with this year is staying in and marathoning Halloween movies. This year it is important to keep younger siblings entertained, since typically they’re the ones who get the most joy out of this season. Jaxon Newland, senior at Saugus High School, and an older brother to Maverick, “an amazing, adorable, little, five year old child,” suggests watching the movies Spookley the Square Pumpkin, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Spooky Buddies with younger siblings.

A few other classic halloween titles are Hocus Pocus, the Nightmare before Christmas, Casper the Friendly Ghost, the Haunted Mansion, The Corpse Bride, Halloween, Monster House, Twitches, Halloweentown, Adams Family, Ghostbusters, Nightmare on Elm Street and finally new release Hubie Halloween. (All of listed movies can be found on either Netflix, Disney+ or Prime)

At Home Festivities:

Making up games while marathoning movies could also make a ghostly night. While watching the movie Hocus Pocus you could pick a word at the beginning of the movie and whenever that word is said, take a drink or eat a piece of candy. For older audiences this game can be altered, but for students non-alcoholic cider or hot chocolate is suggested. 

An additional option would be to organize the house into booths. At the booths set up activities to encourage excitement and entertainment. At one booth there could be a drawing set up, another could be a witches hat toss. The witches hat toss booth would be a booth where you could set up anything that’s shaped like a cone and toss rings onto it. Essentially the bottle toss fair booth, but ideally the witches hat would be a bottle decorated like, well a witch’s hat. 

Another booth option would be a crafts section. Though crafting could be a booth idea, because there’s various different crafts that can be made varying with time consumption and tediousness. Making this booth idea a possible all day activity. Crafting can be entertaining at any age all that needs to be altered is the complexity of the craft for different age groups. Any ideas for Halloween crafts can be found in an abundance of themed boards on Pinterest. 

Another viable option would be to have a baking ‘party’. Throughout the day you could make festive treats, different flavored cookies, pies, cakes, or otherwise. Students could ice the cakes to resemble pumpkins or could cut cookies in the shapes of bats, pumpkins, coffins, or even ghosts.

The CDC recommended Halloween scavenger hunts, instead of just hiding candy around the house to have younger siblings or oneself find. It can be made a game for all ages, before hiding the candy make a sheet with a bunch of riddles, these should be easy enough for all to solve but fun enough to make it exciting and competitive. Hide the candy throughout the house using the riddles’ answers as their locations.

Kacie St.George, Registered Nurse (RN), and Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) and Saugus alumni class of ‘02, mentions, “[Covid] is still the same virus it’s still just as bad if you get it. Our levels at the hospital have been stable, they haven’t gone away and they haven’t drastically decreased. Even though my kids and some others aren’t going trick or treating, [my house] is still decorated like crazy for my kids. And even though it’s not the same, they’re still going to dress up and if possible do a small ‘trunk-or-treat’. Keep the festivities not the tradition [of trick-or-treating]. Some traditions need to be kept like decorating the house like the kids love to do.” 

Small Gatherings:

As suggested by RN Kacie St.George, trunk-or-treats are being held at Candy Cane Lane, Six Flags and Stoney Point Haunt. More locations are available and can be found on Yelp.

Instead of going trick or treating students can hold backyard gatherings at which only the people you’ve already been in contact with would attend. In order to keep up immunity a backyard gathering would only be people you’ve already exposed yourself to, or immediate family members. To which RN Kacie St.George says “ that’s why you still hang out with the few that you do. So you still have contact with people, you still go to the store or get groceries brought in. Even if you clean it you’re not going to get absolutely 100% of the germs and bacteria off. With hanging out with people there’s also the few they’ve exposed themselves to, so this way there’s more of a trickle down effect and not so much of a huge spider web of contamination.” The backyard would be decorated and if worried about food it could either not be offered or stated in the invitation to bring your own for less concerns of contamination. 

Comparable would be a block party. Through these tough times some have still been in close contact with their neighbors. Landon Ortega, Saugus High alumni class of 2020, stated his block will be having a block party, “it’s all very carefully managed we’ll be staying 6 feet or more away from one another [if they haven’t already been in close contact] and you have to bring your own food and drinks.” Landon also suggests off roading with friends, buying or setting up a mini projector to watch a movie whilst off roading, stating “watching the halloween classics under the stars would be a great way to spend the night with some friends.”

Haunting Events and Haunted Houses:

This year Halloween parades, drive through haunted houses, and even haunted car washes could be on the agenda. The following drive-throughs all follow social distancing outlines: Urban Legends Haunt is a live action Halloween haunting experience where guests stay in the comfort of their own cars and sit back and watch the terrifying theatrical activities. Ticket pricing varies on their website and they are available until November 1st.

 Next up is Hellfest, a, “realm where two worlds collide, and music meets horror. Suffer in terror through all-new, original mazes bringing monsters from the dead through the dark shadows and depths of hell. Only 2-3 people are allowed in a maze at a time. Masks are required. This event is from October 22nd through October 31st. *Not recommended for children under 13*” 

The Gentle Barn is also hosting a “Gentle Halloween Drive” where students can get the spooky festivity and the joy of helping support funds for the Gentle Barn. “The Haunted Barnyard concept is a new and exciting immersive drive-thru experience in Santa Clarita. Your unsuspecting passengers will get the scare of a lifetime in The Gentle Barn’s transformed barnyard of doom. Wind your way through a multitude of ghastly scenes while being guided by a ghostly audio with sound effects in the safety of your own vehicle! This event is offered on October 22nd, 23rd, 27th – 31st, November 5th & 6th 2020. Tickets start at $28/person. (Not recommended for kids under 13)”

Georgia McDow former Features Editor and Saugus alumni class of 2020 is assisting in holding another frightening, house experience. “The haunted house is called Beware the Dark Realm. It’s a home haunt up Seco Canyon at 28621 Sugar Pine Way, Santa Clarita, CA 91390. The haunt lasts from 7-10pm every Friday and Saturday of October, so Halloween is included this year.”

“Scott Sivley and his family have been working in and running haunts for over 45 years. BTDR is a medieval-themed castle setup and has, over the years, featured characters such as blacksmiths, dungeon masters, witches, a king and queen, plague doctors, villagers, etc, because of COVID restrictions, the haunt is no longer a walk-through, but instead an immersive visual display. Guests walk around a small outdoor loop passing by a few scene sets and a reduced number of actors. The sets account for a depth of six feet so that actors are able to interact while keeping themselves and guests safe. BTDR relies more heavily on acting this year than jump scares.” Georgia also warns “ jump scares aren’t entirely out of the picture.”

Finally, for students trying to entertain younger siblings they can set the night off with a spooky finish by holding a scary story contest. When it’s dark later in the night turn out all the lights and pass around a flashlight. Sit in a circle on the floor or at a table, the storyteller is the one who gets the flashlight. Concluding all the stories, everyone votes on the best, spookiest tale. After all, Halloween is always supposed to be “a bunch of Hocus Pocus.”