As we approach Halloween weekend, we are writing with some reminders about costumes, safety, and celebrations on and around this day.
First, as you prepare your costume or go shopping for an idea, we encourage you to think about your choices. Some Halloween costumes reinforce stereotypes of particular races, genders, cultures, religions, or abilities. Others mock cultural or religious symbols, or trivialize human suffering, oppression, and marginalization. Please select your costumes and depictions in a way that does not demean, dehumanize, or diminish anyone’s identity or culture. You can learn more in this video, which shares the perspectives of people whose cultures are often reduced to costumes.
Second, celebrating Halloween this year will be different, but you can still have a fun time while keeping yourself and others healthy. As with other fall and winter holidays that typically involve large gatherings, the traditional Halloween activities present varying degrees of risk for contracting and spreading COVID-19. It remains critical that we all avoid outdoor and indoor gatherings that are more than the allowed group sizes or posted COVID-19 capacity.
The best thing we can do this year is to keep activities among our close contacts or host them online. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers some safer ways to celebrate Halloween, including the following:
- Decorate your room, suite, or house.
- Plan a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt inside or outside your residence with your close contacts.
- Host an online costume contest.
- Organize a Halloween movie night with your close contacts or co-watch via a streaming service.
- Carve or decorate pumpkins outside while physically distanced.
If you decide to celebrate outside with individuals other than your close contacts, it is essential that you continue doing your part to limit the spread of COVID-19. The CDC advises the following:
- Wear a face covering. (Do not use costume masks in place of cloth face coverings meant to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.)
- Continue to physically distance and wash your hands.
- Review the list of Halloween activities the CDC classifies as lower risk, moderate risk, and higher risk to make sure that your activities are aligned with your goals, values, and comfort level, as well as our community expectations.
Please note that anyone who is sick, has had any COVID-19 symptoms in the past 14 days, or has had any contact in the last 14 days with someone suspected to have or known to have COVID-19 must not participate in any in-person activities this Halloween. Those individuals should report symptoms in the PolicyPath app and immediately contact Health Services at 802-443-3290 or go/MiddTelehealth after hours.
Chief Diversity Officer
Associate Executive Director, Center for Health and Wellness
Acting Dean of Students