Ben Parker / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Pumpkins at Indian Creek Farm. Students are gearing up for a Halloween without parties and large group costumes.

October 22, 2020

Spooked by the Virus, Students Mask Up for a COVID-19 Halloween

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As the spookiest holiday of the year approaches, students are planning what candy to buy and costumes to wear — but the old routine of parties and trick-or-treating won’t look the same.

Even though Michele Lee ’21 said she doesn’t really celebrate Halloween, she enjoys the spirit of the season. But above all, she misses the Halloween events that she went to in her previous years at Cornell. 

“My sophomore year, Rose House had this Halloween trick-or-treat event. We went to each floor and knocked on doors and asked for candy,” Lee said. 

But despite the limitations of the semester, Lee is not discouraged — she plans on spending the weekend destressing from prelims, sticking to her routine of eating takeout with friends and watching dramas and YouTube videos. 

Lee is not planning on going out, she said, and was sure that classmates would follow Cornell’s public health guidelines like her. “Since Cornell is back in the green zone, I know students are trying to be more vigilant and not party,” Lee said. 

Eliza Hodgkins ’24 is disappointed with this year’s holiday — but not just because of the virus. Hodgkins said she misses how she used to spend Halloween carving pumpkins with her family. 

“We used to match up with our costumes when we were little,” Hodgkins said. “One year we did Harry Potter and I did a Quidditch field on my pumpkin.” 

But Hodgkins said she thinks Halloween never meets its expectations, and this year is no different. 

“It never quite lives up, even in normal times, you never have the Halloween of your dreams,” Hodgkins said. “But I think it’s going to be even less this year. You can’t really meet up with people, can’t have costume competitions. No one wants to get dressed up for a Zoom thing.” 

Since there is a lot of uncertainty, Hodgkins doesn’t have a costume yet. “I can pull out some basic costumes. Farmer, tourist is a big one —  I have a Hawaiian shirt, throw on some shorts, and steal a fanny pack from someone and call it a day.” 

Theo Bloch ’24, on the other hand, is already thinking about his costume — Steve Irwin is currently an option. 

Bloch said he believes that students are trying to make the holiday seem somewhat normal and exciting: “At Cornell, we seem to be good at that.”

Even with the constraints of the pandemic, students are nevertheless trying to find ways to uplift their spirits and take a break from the fast pace of their college lives. 

“Just have fun. Dress up even if you think it’s kind of stupid,” Hodgkins said. “I feel like dressing up makes it more fun, even if it’s a stupid costume that is easy or basic. It’s fun to do something normal.”