After more than a decade of increasingly lively Halloweens in Glen Park, COVID-19 shut everything down in 2020. Instead of streets swarming with Ruth Bader Ginsburgs, Jedi knights and the occasional BART car, there was the eerie silence of the pandemic.
But—with proper precautions—Halloween is back this year!
St. John the Evangelist School at 925 Chenery will host a Halloween Fair on Saturday and Sunday, October 30 and 31 from 12-8, which will include a Haunted House in the gym.
For the past three years, excepting 2020, the Glen Park Association worked with the San Francisco Police Department and Livable Streets SF to shut down Chenery Street from Glen Canyon Park to Diamond Street, to protect the hundreds of children who begin trick-or-treating around 4:00 in the afternoon until well after dark.
With fewer children expected this year, the association will not be shutting down the street. While some neighbors will be handing out candy, others will be dark, including a neighbor who plans to decorate as usual, but opt out of participating on Halloween and instead will be sharing a poster encouraging neighbors to make a donation in lieu of buying Halloween candy.
Even so, we anticipate there will be trick-or-treaters, so here are some tips from Stephen Kissler, an epidemiologist and disease modeler at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
“Masks are key,” he said.
“What better opportunity to wear a mask than Halloween — try to incorporate it into your costume any way you can,” he said.
In general, the safest ways to socialize during Halloween are the same as we’ve all been doing during the pandemic — get vaccinated, be outdoors if you can be, have good ventilation indoors and wear masks.
Many researchers expect there to be a fall/winter COVID-19 surge as the weather cools. If that happens, “Halloween is when we can expect that surge to start,” said Kissler.
That means it will coincide with the start of the influenza season, which could put both adults and children at risk for a double-dose of disease.
“One thing you might consider is getting a flu shot in the next week or so, so you have immunity when Halloween comes along,” he said.
To end on a happy note, handing out candy is not dangerous, he said.
“Surface transmission really seems to not be important when it comes to COVID-19. In terms of handing out candy, I’d be more mindful of the face-to-face transmission, not the candy itself. Wear your mask, but enjoy your candy,” he said.