Adapting to Halloween During a Pandemic


Abi Cantu

Saftey precuations are being taken to keep children safe this year during Halloween.

Evelyn May, Tyler Burkett, Abi Cantu

According to CNN, more than 148 million Americans will be celebrating Halloween this year. However, the coronavirus pandemic has changed how even day-to-day life looks. So, Halloween will also undoubtedly look very different this year. The CDC classifies most typical Halloween activities as high-risk, such as traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treats, and many of the most common types of parties. This limits the kinds of activities people can participate in safely. So, how are traditions changing this year?


Halloween at the Elementary School Level

Classroom Halloween parties look very different this year than they have in the past. While there are some differences from school to school, in general, many of the COVID-19 precautions are similar. First of all, elementary schoolers in the past have been able to go into the school restrooms to change into or out of their costumes, depending on when their class party was. This year, however, squeezing a group of students into the restroom would make it more likely for germs to spread. So, students are wearing their Halloween costumes to school all day. 

Additionally, no visitors are allowed into any elementary school buildings in the Olathe School District. This means parents can’t attend class parties, and that makes it rather difficult for room parents to help with food, drinks, and games. In some schools, like Woodland Elementary, this puts the planning of the class party in the teacher’s hands. In others, like Cedar Creek Elementary, room parents may come up with activities for the students and send them to the teacher along with pre-packaged drinks and snacks for kids to have outside, or just take home. 

Lastly, elementary school costume parades look different this year as well. Given parents are unable to come to the school, and a school-wide parade may increase the risk of germs spreading, a virtual parade will be taking place via Zoom at most schools. This will minimize the contact and mixing of grade levels, while at the same time letting students and parents see all of the kids’ different costumes. 

As far as class parties for Remote Learners go, at Ravenwood Elementary, remote classes will have remote parties, and there will be a goody bag dropped off on the students’ porch. At Woodland Elementary, remote students will have a drive-by costume parade where they can meet their teachers face-to-face for the first time, take a picture with them, and get a goody bag. 

Class parties may not look the same this year, but schools are definitely still trying to give kids a little Halloween fun, while keeping them safe at the same time.


Halloween at the Middle School Level

There aren’t any class parties at the Middle School level, but many middle schools host trunk-or-treat nights. Naturally, walking up to multiple cars all clustered together in a parking lot may not be the most pandemic-friendly activity. So, middle schools have had to change their plans a little bit. 

At Mission Trail Middle School this year, the trunk-or-treat was reorganized as a “drive-through” style event. Families still dressed up, but stayed in their cars. A masked student-helper then went to deliver treats to the cars.

We wanted to keep our fun tradition, while doing it in a safe manner,” Brigette Hahn, Language Arts teacher, KAY Club sponsor, and coordinator of the Mission Trail Trunk-or-Treat said. 


Halloween at the High School Level

No Halloween themed classroom parties or activities are taking place at the high school level this year. In the past, teachers could bring in snacks and drinks for their students to celebrate the holiday. But due to health concerns and safety precautions, no food can be eaten in classes.

West has put on a Trunk-or-Treat for people around the Olathe community to come and get candy from the themed trunks made by different clubs and sports at West. This year though, the Trunk-or-Treat event, which has been a West tradition for the past two years, has been canceled.

Other than no food or Trunk-or-Treat at West, the rest has generally stayed the same. There are still no costumes allowed in school, which was the case last year when Halloween was on a school day.

Although the costumes are nothing new, the changes to the holiday traditions because of the pandemic will be likely be missed in the halls of every Olathe high school.