SAN ANTONIO – Halloween is still a month away, but it didn’t take the usual images of witches, vampires and ghosts to scare some people.
The coronavirus pandemic, it seems, covered that base months ago.
In response, some San Antonians are opting out of taking part in some of the traditional activities, such as trick-or-treating.
GMSA@9 Debrief: Halloween amid a pandemic
“We usually take him trick-or-treating, but not this year,” said Jonathan Carrasco, looking at his elementary school-aged son, Julius. “Not this year because of COVID.”
Carrasco said, instead, his family will be staying close to home, celebrating with immediate family.
It seems they’re not alone.
Jennifer Ramirez also has plans to keep her second and sixth grade daughters close at hand this Halloween.
“We’ll still dress up and everything, but we won’t go out on the streets,” she said.
Also keeping it in the family will be Tina Crossley and her children.
She said with the coronavirus still a threat, there is no reason to risk going to strangers' homes.
Instead, they will “get some candy, play some games, stay close to home,” Crossley said.
The threat also seems to have some people staying away from local costume shops.
Lynn Saunders, a co-owner of Hocus Pocus Halloween Costume Shop, said she has noticed a big difference this year.
While it hasn’t exactly been a ghost town inside her Austin Highway store, she says business is off.
“I talked to other people in other stores and they say they’re scheduling about 30 percent less,” Saunders said.
She began preparing for the Halloween season back in January, before the pandemic hit.
All the elements were there, she said, for this to be a banner year.
“It falls on a Saturday, it’s a full moon and it’s Daylight Saving Time,” she said.
That Halloween trifecta, though, is being overshadowed by real life fear in some people’s minds.
Even those who will be venturing out are keeping safety in mind.
A few local parents commenting on a Halloween thread on Nextdoor.com said they planned to allow their children to go trick-or-treating, but only to the homes of people who they know.
Others said they would be handing out candy through the use of homemade devices, fashioned from pvc pipe, that will allow them to do so from a distance.
“This is San Antonio. Everybody loves to party. They’ll find a way to do it safely,” Saunders said.
Not ready to lose all hope, Saunders is hoping the next few weeks will be better for business, that she’ll get a nice October surprise in the form of last minute costume shoppers.
A national group called the Halloween and Costume Association has put together some tips for celebrating safely in the midst of the pandemic.
You can access it by clicking here.
The Centers for Disease Control’s website also discusses COVID safety measures for Halloween.