Halloween is here! We understand the desire to dress up, let loose and celebrate.


This year has been a long one, and we’re all looking for any excuse to let our hair down. Be it dressing up, searching out candy or connecting with friends, Halloween has it all.


Unfortunately, we can’t approach this holiday the way we once did. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, which means that the dressing up might have to be for ourselves or our family members. The candy might have to be delivered from a grocery store rather than handed out by friendly strangers. And the connections with friends might be through online video, rather than in person.


A drag? Perhaps. But better than the truly scary alternatives.


We know from past, difficult experiences that social events, especially those held at close quarters indoors, can spread COVID-19 quickly and efficiently. Even if you’re wearing a mask, it’s not a great idea to spend a lengthy amount of time inside with other people. So please treat any kind of social gatherings with care.


Meeting friends in person can still be an option, too. But it’s safer to take a spooky walk outside with one or two others while wearing masks, rather than huddling indoors with several dozen.


If you’re going to try trick-or-treating or want to hand our candy to trick-or-treaters, the CDC has some basic advice on its website.


• Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.


• Give out treats outdoors, if possible.


• Set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take.


• Wash hands before handling treats.


• Wear a mask.


No one likes making these kinds of changes. Sometimes, acknowledging a pandemic can feel like giving in to fear. We all would love the opportunity to gather and celebrate without thinking about the challenges around us.


But there’s a great irony here. Denial makes things worse. It leads to more cases of the virus and can destabilize our communities. The more we accept and integrate these changes into our lives, the safer we’ll all be. Our communities will be strengthened, and we will be better positioned when vaccines arrive.


So be spooky this Halloween. But let’s not be scary — be safe instead.