Halloween in the Pandemic

A parent helps her young firefighter with his candy bag on Halloween while following COVID-19 protocol in masks.

Chicago Tribune

A parent helps her young firefighter with his candy bag on Halloween while following COVID-19 protocol in masks.

Meghan Carr, Contributing Writer

It seems as if the coronavirus pandemic has upended all of our usual daily activities and traditions. With Halloween falling under an extra-spooky blue moon this year, people naturally wondered whether this fun childhood holiday would continue to scare and excite. One thing is for sure: there is no off-year when it comes to a night of free candy, and not even COVID could keep Hingham’s kids from trick-or-treating. 

The holiday was set up differently this year to ensure COVID safety. Such measures included tables set up on front lawns with individually bagged candy or goodie bags spread out, and no big bowls. Disguised children wore masks and practiced social distancing. Some artistically incorporated masks into their costumes. A few children even wore gloves and carried hand sanitizers. For families who opted not to trick-or-treat, they still participated in the festivities with activities like Halloween Zoom calls with friends, carving pumpkins, watching classic Halloween movies, and having dress up contests and candy backyard scavenger hunts.  

 Every street looked slightly different, but many were similar to Garrison Road in Hingham Center, where the residents agreed with the method of setting up tables instead of inviting kids into front entrances. Fifth-grader Lindsay Carr made the best of the holiday, saying, “This year felt different. I missed going up to doorsteps and greeting my neighbors with ‘trick-or-treat’. But it was actually kind of nice because people set up fire pits next to the candy tables and it felt good to warm up by the fire, especially in my short go-go dancer dress!”  

Some homes even got creative with the presented challenge of getting candy to kids in a sanitary way. Fifth-grader Brynn Radulski comments, “One house even set up a zipline from their attic to the street, attached with candy clipped on that they would send down to us.” Others entertained children by using tube shoots to send down sweet treats. 

High school students also made the best of the situation and spent the evening having fun while staying safe and smart. Local freshman Grace McCoy reflects, “Even though Halloween may have looked different this year, my friends and I still had a good time watching scary movies outside.” It was all about striking the right balance between minimizing risk and enjoying the spookiest day of the year. 

As for local stores, the Downtown Business Association canceled the annual trick-or-treating in the Square, where merchants welcome strolling trick-or-treaters into their shops. Stores wondered how to proceed, as some normally stay open on October 31st and others do not. Nona’s manager Sarah tells us, “Usually we wouldn’t get trick-or-treaters and Nona’s would be closed on Halloween. But this year we stayed open thinking if people wouldn’t trick-or-treat, maybe they would go out for ice cream. But it was totally dead.” Whether the cold weather conditions or usual circumstances were to blame for the lack of overall action in Hingham Square, it is unknown. 

In such unprecedented times, it was especially important for kids and HHS students to keep annual traditions such as Halloween. With the stress of remote school and a lack of socialization, kids need to have fun outlets to maintain a stable mental health. Hingham reflected many other towns around the country who made as much enjoyment as could be safely had in the midst of the coronavirus.