Pandemic Halloween

So Much More than

By Meg Walburn Viviano

Halloween weekend is finally here, and I won’t beat around the bush—it’s a weird one. 

The time of year is right: a 48-degree forecast for Halloween night, with sunset just after 6 pm and dry leaves rustling on the sidewalks. There will be one thing missing, however: the packs of trick-or-treaters we’re used to seeing run up and down the streets on a sugar high.  

While no one has outright banned Halloween, many local governments are strongly discouraging trick-or-treating. Homeowners who dutifully stock up on mixed bags of Halloween candy each year are a bit bewildered: will we get any trick-or-treaters at all? Should we set some candy at the end of the driveway, or turn off our lights and avoid all in-person contact? 

Parents, meanwhile, worry about the close-up nature of door-to-door candy and all the little hands dipping into the same bowl of treats. Then they fret over disappointing their Halloween-loving kids, in a year when so many things have already been canceled. Let’s face it: handling holiday traditions in a pandemic is more anxiety-inducing than Freddie Kreuger, the Crypt Keeper, and the murderous clown from It, all put together. 

In my townhouse community, we’re putting on a small “parade” of 10–12 young kids in costume and allowing them to trick-or-treat outside their own houses. All the grownups are invited to sit in socially-distant lawn chairs and enjoy the spectacle. It may not be much, but at least costumes, candy, and neighbors are still part of the fun. 

Actually, in the weeks leading up to Halloween night, I’ve noticed a little extra holiday spirit bubbling up this year—as everyone spends more time around the house. I have witnessed some of the most elaborate displays of spooky decorations I can remember—from cheerful pumpkin lights and Día de los Muertos skeletons to giant tarantulas and decaying zombies. For the past few weeks, we’ve been taking walks around the neighborhood to check out Halloween decorations like one might do with Christmas lights. The carved pumpkins on display are equally impressive: with extra time on their hands, people are tackling intricate shapes and painted pumpkins. One friend of mine created an over-the-top peacock pumpkin, painted deep turquoise and bedecked with jewels and plumage. 

This year, Halloween isn’t just about one night; it’s a whole holiday season. In that spirit, CBM Bay Weekly’s Halloween edition is about much more trick-or-treating. We’ve scoured Chesapeake Country to find the most festive (and socially responsible) events happening this weekend, including some creative celebrations designed just for our current pandemic climate. Read all about it at  

We’re even holding a Bay Weekly costume contest, because, why not? We invite you to send us your photos ([email protected]) or post them on our Facebook page ( ). We want to see pics of your spookiest look, your cute kids in costume, even your pets (who doesn’t love the classic dachshund in a hot dog bun costume?). We’ll pick the best submissions and print them right here on this page next week, and you can find your pics on Bay Weekly’s Facebook page, too. 

So what if coronavirus steals Halloween trick-or-treating? We’re celebrating the whole spooky season.