Halloween festivities, like many other events this year, will be altered due to COVID-19 safety protocols both on and off-campus. Halloween brings the campus community together as many students celebrate the holiday with one another clad in both retail and homemade costumes.
“(My advice to students would be) that the Gator Pledge still applies to all on campus and off campus events as well as all organizations and students,” said Regional Advancement Officer & Assistant Director of Gift Planning Matthew Bocchi. “Also, (students should ensure that) celebrations are complying with the recommendations of the Allegheny College Health Agency and organizations are checking in with the agency to see how they may safely and professionally host potential events.”
Bocchi advises Fraternity & Sorority Life organizations across Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
The Gator Pledge will still be in effect for the holiday, and students are advised not to attend large-group gatherings, such as parties, Bocchi added. Every student signed the pledge upon arrival to the campus, pledging to obey all safety policies, including masking, social distancing, and not congregating in large groups.
“I am a little concerned about what is going to happen with the first years, especially with Halloween occurring on a weekend this year,” said Baldwin Hall Resident Advisor Liam Jones, ’23.
“We will probably see more social activity than other weekends — there may be a lot more students gathering than there have been (this semester).”
Jones recommends all students, especially first-year students, avoid attending large-group gatherings for Halloween this year.
“I know that it is tempting to party your first Halloween, but we need to get through (this year) to make sure that we have next Halloween (on campus),” Jones said.
Students found violating the Gator Pledge during the holiday will be subject to existing protocols.
“We have a Gator Pledge instant referral form if students are violating the Gator Pledge and putting others (students) at risk — the college has no tolerance for that,” Jones said. “(Resident Advisors) will take care of (the concerns) as to not put any other students at risk.”
Baldwin Hall has yet to announce any dorm festivities for the holiday; however, Jones mentioned that a door decorating contest may occur this month. Any festivities that occur will be arranged in accordance with the institution’s COVID-19 regulations, including social distancing and masking.
“(Resident advisors) mainly tell students to break up large groups, keep their masks on, and just make sure that they are practicing and maintaining social distance (with one another),” Jones said. “We want to make sure that they are being safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19 as much as we can. (Students) have been doing a good job with (preventing COVID-19 spread). (The college) has not seen a spike in COVID-19 since the first cluster.”
While large-group gatherings are prohibited, students are able to attend local festivities to celebrate the holiday this year. The City of Meadville is hosting several events to celebrate the holiday, including both virtual and in-person events, such as magic shows, painting and Fright Night.
“Richard Preston’s Halloween Magic Special” will occur Friday, Oct. 9, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Zoom. Tickets are $20 for anyone interested in participating in the virtual magic show. World-renowned magician Stuart MacDonald Penn plans to create an interactive show, where the audience, despite virtually attending the event, can perform magic tricks as well.
Fright Night is set to occur on Friday, Oct. 30 at the Meadville Area Recreation Complex from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. This year, Fright Night will feature a haunted drive-thru trail and a roller-skating session.
“We want to do something that is safe and in smaller numbers to accommodate everyone,” MARC wrote on their Facebook page. “You can either participate (by) driving your car through a haunted trail from the MARC to the back of the baseball field or on the back of a hay trailer through the grounds in the dark with the access road filled with all kinds of spookiness.”
Admission to the outdoor event is $5, however, anyone interested in attending the roller-skating event must pay an additional $5 admission fee. Due to COVID-19 regulations, the roller-skating session is limited to 125 people.
Students can also visit neighboring cities’ pumpkin patches. Wooden Nickel Buffalo Farm & Corn Maze in Edinboro, Pennsylvania hosts an annual pumpkin patch event in which participants can visit the petting zoo, navigate the corn maze and pick pumpkins.
According to the Crawford Area Young Chamber of Commerce, the 54th annual Meadville Halloween Parade has been cancelled this year due to concerns regarding COVID-19 and the inability to obtain the parade’s permit. The themed parade is normally held in late October, and attracts crowds of residents, students and tourists. Student organizations on campus participate in the parade by creating floats and passing out candy to attendees.
“Unfortunately, we were not able to obtain the permit needed to hold the parade,” CAYCC announced on the parade’s website. “Also, the current CDC guidelines would not permit a gathering of more than 250 people. We apologize and cannot wait to be able to hold the 2021 Parade!”