Why we should not cancel Halloween: Keeping a degree of normalcy in COVID-19

Graphic by Daniya Siddique

The debate about whether Halloween should be cancelled has been a hot topic in not just Ontario, but all over Canada. 

Recently, Premier Doug Ford stated that trick-or-treating should not take place this year. He said in one of his regular public speeches, that he felt it was an unnecessary risk that should be avoided. 

Furthermore, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked if he had plans to take his children out trick or treating. He replied that he would not per the advice of Ottawa’s public health officials.

So, our government leaders have decided that they do not think Halloweenshould go on this year, but it does not seem they have pushed any bills or legislation that has made it expressly illegal to do so.  “I am not cancelling Halloween, but I do not recommend anyone go door to door” Ford said

However, just because something is not illegal does not still mean it should be done. 

Halloween is a two-pronged event. For children and their parents, it involves trick-or-treating, and for those who are too old, it’s often a good break to relax with friends during the school year or a stressful work week.

I would argue that both can still occur if proper care is taken.

For trick-or-treaters, this could include masks being worn on top of a costume, using hand sanitizer, and wearing gloves. 

For people wanting to hang out with friends, this could include masks being worn in the appropriate physical-distancing environments, and caps on how many people can be at one party with strict adherence to that number.

Though it can be done safely still need to be careful as the biggest risk comes with those people potentially transmitting COVID-19 to someone who is at risk. Even if one person dies from a party of students enjoying themselves, then that is one death too many. It only takes one house party to be lenient on the rules for a mass “super spreader” event to occur.

At this point, one may have to make the hard call of a cost-benefit analysis.

Even before the pandemic, Canada was seeing a rise in depression, anxiety, and suicide amongst all age groups. Now, according to a study from the Oxford Journal of Medicine, based on the data we have, these already alarmingly high rates have almost doubled.

The reasons for this, as deduced by the researchers, arewere due to a feeling of anxiety about the current state of the world, anxiety concerning the economy and an increasing reliance on social media for companionship and news. The biggest factor according to respondents was social isolation due to lockdowns.

Will Halloween end be cancelled? Or will it help prevent the feeling of isolation and anxiety that everyone is feeling? Probably not. But Halloween is something people look forward to all year.

It’s a time where children spend time with their friends, and we, students can relax during a busy and stressful school year semester or just celebrate with friends. We need a break from everything that is going on in the world.

If one is anyone is going to engage in any Halloween celebrations for a much needed and deserved break, please adhere to physical distancing and please wear a mask whenever possible.

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