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Sunday, February 28, 2021
<p>Whether you’re planning a small get-together at home or a night on the town, remember some activities are safer than others.</p>

Whether you’re planning a small get-together at home or a night on the town, remember some activities are safer than others.

As we enter the last week of the spooky season, Mercury, the planet of communication, intellect and active listening finds itself cuffed to the moodiest, most controversial sign in the zodiac, Scorpio. 

And with Mercury currently in retrograde, I’d dust off any skeletons in your closet before they threaten to come dancing out — though it would suit the festivities! Or lack thereof for many of us. 

When this year began, many of us might’ve looked forward to weddings, graduations or birthdays — but as a self-proclaimed queer goblin witch, I was counting down the days until Halloween. 

I knew the holiday would fall on a Saturday this year, and I was already rubbing my little gremlin hands together in glee at the thought of an entire weekend of mischief. Though everyone’s favorite virus had different plans in mind. 

For Carlyn Thrasher, a 22-year-old UF English junior, “party” holidays like Halloween, the Fourth of July and Valentine’s Day hold more significance when they fall on a weekend. 

“Even if I’m staying home, I don’t want to go all out for a holiday that I have to wake up at 6 a.m. the next day for,” Thrasher said. 

Last year, Thrasher celebrated Halloween in a typical college fashion for the first time, going to a club and partying amongst fellow sweaty strangers. This year, they’re spending the holiday at home with their girlfriend watching scary movies like “ParaNorman and “Coraline.” 

“We had a plan when we first got together to dress like obscure Scooby Doo parents, but that’s fallen to the side with all that’s happening,” they said.  

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of how disgustingly adorable that sounds — perhaps it’s Scorpio’s pettier inclinations making me a little green with envy. Too bad I already bought my costume, otherwise I’d pass as the Wicked Witch of the West. 

Though some integral parts of the holiday, like trick-or-treating, have been halted, James Eschrich, a 20-year-old UF English and computer science junior, is looking for aspects of the holiday that can be preserved, he said. 

“I’m a little too old to be going door to door asking for candy,” Eschrich said. “Some of the stuff that’s very traditional to Halloween is actually pretty homebody, like watching a scary movie.” 

Eschrich maintains the idea that Halloween is an important part of the college experience — its the one time a year where people can fully lean into the festive, masquerade-like aesthetic. Last year, Eschrich found himself navigating the bars of downtown Gainesville for the first time, making for a formative night of his student experience, he said. 

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“It was one of those very fun, classically college nights where you meet new people and do new things,” Eschrich said. “ I never thought of that before as a Halloween memory specifically, but it is.” 

This year, Eschrich doesn’t have plans for himself, but he will be helping his younger siblings orchestrate a socially distanced movie night: a personal drive-in with hay bales to sit on, candy to gorge themselves on and friends to share it with in a safe way.

It's the most they can manage, but they’ll make it worthwhile, he said. 

I applaud his efforts to make this Halloween fun, yet safe for his brother and sister. Way to upstage all of us mediocre older siblings, James — you’re really making me look bad here!

Needless to say, it’s important that we consider the repercussions of our decisions to achieve a semblance of normalcy this holiday. Whether you’re planning a small get-together at home or a night on the town, remember some activities are safer than others.

Thrasher empathizes with students who are antsy for a night out. In this day and age, it can feel like we’re running out of time to have the “college experience,” but catching the virus is just not worth it, Thrasher said. 

“If you want to see your friends, you can absolutely do that in a safe way— you’ve got to be smart about it,” they said. 

Social distancing doesn’t equate to social isolation; It’s not that black and white. I won’t vouch for locking people in their homes in some twisted form of solitary confinement. We should all be trying our best to interpret this new lifestyle in the shades of grey that’ll keep us and our families safe.

However, if I recognize anyone outside without a mask, festive or otherwise, I will cast a spell on you. And not in the beguiling, “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” sort of way — I’m talking full on “Hocus Pocus,” warts and all. Happy Halloween!

Whether you’re planning a small get-together at home or a night on the town, remember some activities are safer than others.

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