"This year’s Halloween scarier than most with COVID on our minds" by: Jessica Shepard

   I have to admit that sometimes there are topics or events that completely go over my head and seem to have some irrational subtext.
   Take Halloween celebrations for example.
   This year is the first time since 2015 that Halloween has fallen on a Saturday.
   It’s almost a prime time to have an event of some sort downtown like “Trick or Treat around the Square.”
   Sadly, that time-honored event was laid to rest last year.
   There’s been a variety of reasons why downtown merchants don’t want to participate.
   I’ve heard them all by mouth or second-hand accounts at civic organizational meetings.
   Some businesses have said that they spend too much money on candy and don’t see return customer traffic, or profits generated by the event.
   Others claim that they’re worried about the security of their businesses when so many come in costume and don’t feel safe.
   And while I find that those are only semi-valid responses it just feels like a copout to me.
   I’ve seen plenty of security response from the Bay City Police Department and some sheriff deputies.
   As for the other bits about not making any sales or spending too much money on candy, I want to ask those business owners if they’ve ever considered the event as an investment in the community and a chance to meet someone that might not usually patronize their store?
   Although those were all the criticisms that were on the table before COVID-19 swept across the world.
   Now, it seems like we’re on the downward slope and I can tell by how blown-out and sold-out the Halloween sections in stores are that Americans are ready for a big party.
   I’m excited and only marginally worried, but also filled with hope that people will continue to respect the health guidelines and social distancing protocols we have.
   And yes, that includes the much-despised mask mandates!
   I feel like I should remind folks too that Halloween masks are not recommended as a safeguard against COVID-19.
   No matter how cool or awesome they appear – and I’ve seen a few.
   Two weeks ago, I saw students sporting a Grinch and lamb mask at the Tidehaven Homecoming game.
   At first, it was entertaining to watch them try to maneuver the bleachers and milling crowd of people.
   But, as the night wore on, I became more worried when I saw them tripping on their own feet and almost falling several times.
   I hope that adults and children alike take care this Halloween and remain safe.
   The last thing we need before Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season is another spike in COVID cases!
   For my family, we’re just staying home and getting spooky on our own, though I might drop by a few friends’ houses and hang out for a bit.
   It all depends on what my siblings feel like doing and they are kind of lame and consider themselves “too old” for more Halloween fun.
   Either way, I’ll be hitting the sales rack for discount candy on Nov. 1!

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