December 6, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 39°F


Costumes, candy and COVID-19: Halloween festivities adapt to the pandemic

Halloween is usually the time of year that brings people together to dress up and go door to door at strangers’ houses. Kids dressed in an array of costumes walk around their neighborhoods digging through candy baskets to find the last full-size Snickers bar. This year, Halloween took a different form because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of the usual face-to-face interactions between kids and their neighbors, people were forced to come up with creative ways to deliver candy, whether that be in individually packaged bags or a handmade candy chute. Other socially distant and outdoor activities took place, like pumpkin carving, scarecrow making and trunk or treats. All across the country, people created new ways of celebrating Halloween to ensure safety while still having fun. The Ithacan photographers captured the different ways people celebrated this year in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York state, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

Jillian and Leo Williams receive candy from Mary Hause, the lead pastor’s wife, Oct. 30 at the Bethel Grove Bible Church Trunk or Treat in Ithaca. Photo by Jill Ruthauser

Kavik Nicholson, dressed as a doctor for Halloween, reaches for a bag of candy at the trunk or treat. Families in the area with large trucks benefited from having an open trunk to offer candy from. Photo by Jill Ruthauser

Outside their home in Plainfield, Vermont, the Davis family prepares to trick or treat around the block. Dressed as a burn-victim zombie, a calf and a spider, they sat on their porch waiting for trick-or-treating to commence. Photo by Alyssa Beebe

Mickey Larrabee, a veteran Danville, Vermont, crossing guard, volunteered for Danville High School’s socially distant trick-or-treat event in Danville. On a mile-and-a-half, one-way loop around town, she, with the kids around her, dressed up for Halloween. Photo by Alyssa Beebe

Socially distant skeletons were placed by a campfire to promote safety measures during the pandemic. They sat 6 feet apart and wore masks to protect one another and to set examples for children walking by. Photo by Alyssa Beebe

In lieu of traditional trick-or-treating, houses and businesses in Danville, Vermont, created ways to distribute candy safely. Here, a candy delivery boy sends Starbursts down a homemade, 6-foot-long candy chute. Photo by Alyssa Beebe

This house in Belle Mead, New Jersey, is decorated with a Tim Burton theme, taking influence from the famous film “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Photo by Bec Legato

Friendly skeletons greeted people and children passing by with the spirit and song of Halloween. Houses in Belle Mead, New Jersey, tried to keep the spirits of Halloween up amid the pandemic. Photo by Bec Legato

College freshmen Emma Kendall (Velma), Amelia Connoley (Daphne), Grace Rolen (Shaggy), Linda Campos-Perez (Scooby) and Ashley Ko (the Mystery Machine) dress as the Mystery Inc. Gang. With all of them staying home for virtual classes, they all chose to meet up and dress up together while maintaining social-distancing protocols in central New Jersey. Photo by Bec Legato

Third grader Asher Herndon ties together the shirt and pants of his newly made scarecrow Oct. 31 in Falls Church, Virginia. The Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department organized three Halloween pop-up activities, including scarecrow making, pumpkin painting and birdhouse painting. Photo by Eleanor Kay

Meg Herndon and her son Asher attach their scarecrow’s head to its body. The Recreation and Parks Department normally holds a Halloween carnival at the Community Center in Falls Church but had to cancel because of the risk of COVID-19 exposures. Photo by Eleanor Kay

Asher Herndon adds the finishing touches to his scarecrow, gluing pieces of felt to the head to create a surprised expression. Asher plans to dress up as a T. rex and walk in a socially distant costume parade in the city. Photo by Eleanor Kay

During the month of October, people in Providence, Rhode Island, drove through Roger Williams Park Zoo to celebrate the Halloween season. The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular was converted to a drive-thru experience and took the place of the usual walk-through experience that has occurred for the past 29 years. Photo by Paige Tolan

Zoo visitors joined together in their personal vehicles to enjoy this experience safely this year. Over 5,000 pumpkins that had been hand carved were on display. Photo by Paige Tolan

Artists got creative with the ways they carved their pumpkins, some steering away from the typical jack-o’-lantern look. Some other categories of designs included superheroes and rock ‘n’ roll icons. Photo by Paige Tolan

County College of Morris sophomores, Emily Ellis and Kim Hosken, pose as ghosts at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, New Jersey, to re-create a current TikTok trend. Trying to keep the Halloween spirit alive during the pandemic, Ellis and Hosken embody the spooky aspects of the simple sheet ghost. Jockey Hollow is a Revolutionary War historical site that offers fall trails as well as a haunting backdrop that reflects the death that this site has once seen. Photo by Abbey London

Even the ghosts in your basement need to get some entertainment once in a while. Hosken and Ellis pose as they watch “The Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors” series in the homemade garage theater at Ithaca College junior Abbey London’s house. Photo by Abbey London

To try to abide by COVID-19 guidelines while having a Halloween party, festivities moved outside by the fire to keep warm while watching Halloween movies. Photo by Abbey London