BY SOFIA MENDEZ
As 2020 comes to an end, the holiday months start to approach. However, the country must prepare to likely spend the rest of the year living with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s October, November and December celebrations will look somewhat different. September has ended with more than a million deaths from the coronavirus all around the world and countries have been struggling to find a balance between re-opening and containing the virus with new regulations.
Halloween, Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving day, Hanukkah, Christmas and other celebrations are rapidly coming closer but large gatherings, sharing food and traveling are additional celebratory activities unfortunately discouraged by health authorities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Although, this does not mean the holidays cannot be celebrated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has specifically made a list of activity recommendations people can be engaged in during the holiday season with high infection risks to themselves and everyone around. Here are suggestions for some of the upcoming holidays:
First up, we have the spookiest season of them all, Halloween, coming on Saturday, October 31. Since handing out candy isn’t the best option for trick-or-treating at this time, due to contamination risks, there are still many things one can do to feel the Halloween spirit. You can replace going house to house trick-or-treating by doing a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with family members in costumes around the house. In addition, carving and decorating pumpkins with the members of one’s household remains a safe activity to do. There are also a ton of movies to watch on Halloween, so grabbing some candy and treats for a movie night with the people you live with is a fun activity. These are some of the many alternatives one can do to make the most out of Halloween.
2. Day of the Dead
Right after Halloween, many people celebrate Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) from Saturday, October 31 to Monday, November 2. This traditional Mexican celebration is a time to remember loved ones who have passed away. Those seeking to celebrate this year could decorate the graves of loved ones with family members and stay about 6 feet away from others who may be in the area in order to maintain safety. Furthermore, preparing traditional family recipes and playing music in the house is safe to do. At home, those celebrating Day of the Dead can make and decorate traditional celebratory masks and even make a home altar for loved ones who have passed away, all while remaining safe.
3. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and others
Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah, among other events during this time, are celebrations that are known for families coming together as one, often involving traveling long distances to see each other. The best way to reduce the spread of the coronavirus is to stay home. However, if the family is coming to visit, people should try to have a space with hygiene essentials, including hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, gloves and masks. The safest way to have dinner during these holidays is to remain with one’s immediate family, excluding close friends and neighbors and possible contamination as a result. Regarding holiday sales, it is much more cautious to shop online than going in person to the mall, especially as it tends to get crowded.
The pandemic situation is ever-changing, so in preparation for the upcoming holidays, it is crucial to follow local health guidelines and be aware of the new regulations. With this, people everywhere can ensure to have a great holiday experience.
Illustration by Sofie Kahlig