A Full Moon, Halloween, and Coronavirus


Joseph Laux, Staff Writer

October 31st. Kids across the US, and the globe, go into the darkness to get candy. They go house to house, putting their dirty hands into baskets to get that sweet, sweet candy. Most people, then head back to a communal party, stuffing themselves with collected junk food. That’s how Halloween has operated in the modern age. 

But what happens if disaster strikes? What happens if the taps run dry and the power turns off? What happens if an infectious disease ravages the world? Should tradition continue, even  at the expense of safety? This is what some were asking back in 2012, and what was also asked now in 2020.  

Cancelled Halloween?

In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy ravaged New Jersey. Power lines were down, the roads were clogged with tree branches, and generators were in short supply. In front of this, Chris Christie, the now former governor of New Jersey, issued an executive order ‘pushing back’ Halloween. Even then, most did not go out and celebrate the holiday. 

October 31st 2020 was bound to be different from all Halloweens that had preceded it as  the coronavirus pandemic has ravaged New Jersey and other states. Currently in the Garden State, the rolling fourteen day average for COVID-19 cases is 41% higher than the previous time frame. The nature of Halloween, parties and the tradition of knocking on doors of random households did not bode well with social distancing.

Governor Murphy, even with the threat of COVID-19, declared in a tweet that “Halloween was on.” With this, the New Jersey Department of Health released information regarding doing Halloween safely. These include serving candy not in communal bowls but instead handed out separately, to simply wearing a mask when approaching a house.

Morris Hills students were divided on the topic of if the Halloween traditions should continue. One anonymous student, in support of ‘having’ Halloween noted that, “if everyone put on a mask and avoids hand to hand contact, there should be no problem.” Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, another Hills student, this one in the Magnet program explained that, “it only would take one infected person to cause a storm. Then, we will be back to April.”

At Hills, the annual Halloween was cancelled. Assistant principal Mr. Melvin stated one of the main reasons for not being able to have the Halloween parade is risk aversion. Simply, the district wanted to avoid risk, and that meant cancelling one of the traditions of Morris Hills. Originally, Mr. Melvin disclosed hat costumes were going to be allowed to be worn for Friday the 30th as long as the mask wearing requirement is adhered to. Unfortunately,  due to documented cases of COVID-19 at Hills students wearing costumes never took place as the school switched to an all virtual schedule.  Mr. Melvin, who has school-aged children,  agreed with many regarding trick-or-treating.  He explained that with proper social distancing and mask wearing, kids who have been cooped up at home should be allowed to celebrate the holiday.

This year’s Halloween was certainly different than those in past years, but as has been true in the past, it couldn’t be cancelled.