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Halloween won’t be canceled but things will be a bit different

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Gene Deason

I miss the days when the public appreciated that newspaper reporters in general, and reporters at the Bulletin specifically, knew stuff. People called the newspaper office with questions about everything under the sun. If we didn’t have an answer, we’d do our best to find it. We relished the challenge.

These days, that’s not how it works. People don’t even call their doctors with questions. Instead, they look to Google or their Facebook friends for answers.

Back then, the newspaper office would get calls every few years asking if Halloween had been cancelled because it fell on a Sunday. I’m confident Halloween was never cancelled. So, if Halloween wasn’t cancelled then because it’s on a Sunday, I doubt Halloween will be cancelled this year because of a virus.

I could be wrong, but if I am, I’ll be surprised.

Regardless, it promises to be a Halloween unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Because of the pandemic, trick-or-treaters could be wearing two masks.

And just in case, they may want to do even more than that.

Several weeks ago, a friend drew my attention to the fact that the Full Moon falls on October 31 this year. What’s more, it will be a Blue Moon, which means (by the most popular definition) it will be the second Full Moon of the month.

OK, why not? What else can this snake-bit year throw at us?

Plans are already being announced by different groups and organizations about the creative plans they’re making to observe our Halloween traditions this year. Good for them. After the year we’ve been through, I think we need to have a way for the community to celebrate together — in a responsible, physically distanced sort of way. Halloween is as good a time as any to do that.

I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween. As a child, I didn’t like being scared. Still don’t. Plus, the candy wasn’t worth the effort. Why should I get in a costume and walk around the neighborhood in the dark, when Mom and Dad had plenty of candy I liked in a bowl at home?

Well, that’s a little exaggerated. My experiences weren’t all that bad. If being terrified defines a Halloween experience, I had several outstanding ones. However, I’ve honestly had more fun as an adult, watching as children expectantly arrive at our front door while trick-or-treating.

Halloween is still five weeks and a day away. If you think this article is rushing the season, please understand; I’m not the only one. The build-up to Halloween has been underway in the retail world for several weeks already.

Even in a normal year, the period leading up to Halloween represents a crowded intersection of holiday preparations.

Check your calendar, if you haven’t already tossed it out wishing that 2021 would arrive. We’ve got Halloween, harvest celebrations, Thanksgiving, and Christmas jammed into the final two months of the year. Products for each are competing for store shelf space.

If you’re lucky, you might even find a few pieces of Easter candy left on a clearance rack. As I recall, Easter came and went while we were supposed to be in lockdown. If you happen to see any leftover Cadbury Crème Eggs, please let me know.

Halloween safety has been promoted in America for decades, and I’m not talking just about the look-both-ways-before-you-cross-streets type of safety. That’s still important, because children have three times the chance of being hit by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year.

Ever since 1974 when Ronald O’Brien of Houston killed his 8-year-old son with a poisoned Pixy Stix to collect life insurance, parents have been suspicious of what’s inside the bags their trick-or-treaters bring home. Thankfully, it’s rare to find poison or razor blades inside those bags.

But it’s not too soon to be thinking ahead about not only how to stay safe on Halloween, but also how to stay healthy. It’s good that it’s already happening.

Gene Deason is editor emeritus of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column “TGIF” appears on Fridays. He may be contacted at tgifcolumn@yahoo.com.