A guide to safely celebrating Halloween during a global pandemic


Jocelyn Mintz

There are many ways to keep the spooky spirit alive while remaining safe.

By Sasha Blake

Break out your cobwebs, skeletons, ghosts and pumpkins for the front lawn: it’s that spooky, special time of year. Between Halloween lining up with a full moon and occurring on a Saturday night, this year would typically seem perfect for festivities. But this isn’t a normal year, and it surely will not be a normal Halloween. Though coronavirus-related dangers rule out many traditional celebrations, there are still countless ways to modify plans and celebrate Halloween while following safety guidelines. 

Haunted experiences

The Field of Screams, affiliated with Markoff’s Haunted Forest, provides a safe way to get your share of scares. Located in Olney, the forest’s Haunted Trail consists of 13 campground sites that wind through the large field bordered by an ominous forest. Haunted houses dot the trail, populated by staffers dressed as every imaginable type of monster. Adhering to CDC standards, masks are mandatory and visitors must stay at least six feet apart from each other at all times. The location’s visitor capacity has decreased to 25 percent of what it was in past years. You can buy tickets online.


Pumpkin patches

Pumpkin patches are an essential part of the classic Halloween experience, and there are several available for safe picking. At Butler’s Orchard in Germantown, you can reserve a time slot to explore 300 acres of fresh air and farmland. Not only does Butler’s Orchard allow pumpkin picking, but it also provides opportunities to participate in other Halloween traditions, including straw mazes, hayrides and corn hole games. All visitors must maintain social distance, wear a mask and follow other safety protocols. 


Pumpkin carving

Once you’ve picked a perfect pumpkin, group carving activities are a great way to safely spend time with friends and family. To stay in compliance with Maryland safety guidelines, carving spaces should be kept outside, socially distanced and in groups of less than ten people. This week, Junior Mira Kisslinger and her friends set up a table in her backyard, each seat equipped with a pumpkin and carving knives.

“Carving with my friends really put me in the Halloween mood, despite all the uncertainty right now,” Kisslinger said.


Halloween movie marathon

Whether you want to stay at home and settle in for a movie with family or set up a projector outside with friends, watching Halloween movies is a simple and entertaining activity to keep traditions alive. For those looking to minimize risk and gather virtually, Netflix Party allows participants to stream the same movie simultaneously, providing a chat option to all viewers. Netflix even has an entire Halloween movie category, including staples like The Addams Family and Sleepy Hollow.


Halloween Zoom gathering

If you want to show off an exciting costume this year, you can always host a Zoom meeting — a safe alternative to the pre-pandemic Halloween parties. Although the idea might seem to lack the typical Halloween spirit, Zoom parties always have the potential to be enjoyable. Junior Sahana Ashley plans to attend a Halloween Zoom with her cousins, some of whom have been away at college.

“It’s a fun way to celebrate because none of us know what each other is dressing up as,” Ashley said. “I’m excited to see what creative costumes they can come up with.”


Keep the party going!

In a time of apprehension, holidays like Halloween can provide a fun escape from reality and bring our community together. Junior Katheryne Dwyer is still excited to celebrate halloween despite this years’ limitations. These celebrations provide a sense of normalcy in a world-changing pandemic, she said.

“Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, and the thought of not having it was really upsetting to me,” Dwyer said. “I’m really glad there are so many easy ways we can celebrate it safely.”