School Community Reacts to Cancelation of Halloween Traditions

Despite+the+cancelation+of+many+Halloween+celebrations%2C+many+people+still+expressed+their+holiday+spirit+through+spooky+decorations.

Shekhar Annambhotla

Despite the cancelation of many Halloween celebrations, many people still expressed their holiday spirit through spooky decorations.

Kishore Annambhotla, Staff Reporter

Each year, Halloween night is a time for people to meet, play games, watch movies, and bond over the holiday spirit. However, for the annual festival-goers, party-throwers, and trick-or-treaters, recommendations from Coopersburg Borough and Upper Saucon Township put a damper on the regular tricks and treats. 

Since the lockdown in March, COVID-19 cases in America have continually been among the highest counts in the world, shutting down schools, businesses, and public places everywhere. Although cases tend to be lower in areas of Pennsylvania compared to other states, the Coopersburg Borough and Upper Saucon Township announced some changes on their regular approach to Halloween.

In July, Coopersburg Borough announced the cancellation of the annual Halloween Parade. A popular local tradition, the parade passes through Main Street, and features marches, performances, and floats from the community. 

“For the past few years I’ve always been in the Halloween parade,” senior marching band member Megan Albanese said. “I’m definitely disappointed that I’m missing out on my last year being involved with the parade, and I’m going to miss seeing all the people involved with it the most. Overall though with the situation, I know that cancelling it [was] the smartest and safest option.”

Other than the cancellation of the parade, Coopersburg made no mention of additional plans regarding COVID-19, placing Trick-or-Treat as a formal event on their website and announcing it to residents. The borough did cite the guidelines put out by the CDC as being important to their plans this year.

Upper Saucon Township did not specifically cancel any celebrations, but they also made several recommendations based on guidelines from the CDC. The administration also made clear that Trick-or-Treat night would continue, being displayed on their website and announced in the media.

“Traditional Halloween activities are fun, but some can increase the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19,” Upper Saucon Township Communications and Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator Mr. Patrick Leonard said. “By following the CDC guidelines, families [could] still participate at some level while making Trick or Treat safer. Still, we encourage[d] parents or persons that are uncomfortable with it, not to participate.” 

According to the CDC, lower-risk events include almost anything away from public events or large crowds, including house decorations, thematic movies, neighborhood scavenger hunts, and any number of virtual celebrations. Higher-risk events include large gatherings, traditional trick-or-treating, and any events that are celebrated with excessive drinking, as they may cloud judgment.

School administrators, teachers, and parents in the community generally agreed with how Upper Saucon and Coopersburg handled the issue of safety in this pandemic.

“In terms of Halloween, it is not my place to determine how municipalities handle ‘Trick or Treat,’” Southern Lehigh Pandemic Planning Coordinator Mr. Thomas Ruhf said. “The mitigation strategies they [suggested] are generally those that we are also suggesting, wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands.”

“I will say that people have the ability to do what they believe is best for their family,” world history teacher Mr. Lee Zeisloft said. “If that means no trick or treating, that is perfectly acceptable.  If that means going around the neighborhood, that is their decision.” 

For some, these restrictions may have a positive effect on Halloween celebrations in the future as families create new traditions.

“As a parent, I want to protect my children and keep them safe. This pandemic has changed the way we have celebrated milestones. I am working on various ways to celebrate Halloween with my children,” biology teacher Mrs. Adrienne Searfoss said in anticipation of the holiday. “We will carve pumpkins, have a scavenger hunt, do a craft, play bingo, hunt for hidden candy, and watch a spooky movie. It is my hope that perhaps some new traditions will be started due to our current situation.” 

“In terms of my own kids, my wife and I continue to remain optimistic when we speak with them,” Mr. Ruhf said. “My kids are young and we make a conscious effort not to focus on what has been taken away.”