Things That Matter

Can Halloween Be Saved? Experts Say Yes If You Follow These Important Guidelines

No matter what you plan on doing this year for Halloween, it’s obvious that this year’s Halloween celebrations are going to look and feel wildly different from years past.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has interrupted many of our annual traditions, it seems that Americans are dead-set on celebrating Halloween as if it were business as usual. A recent Harris Poll survey suggests that more than 70% of millennial moms are planning to make “the most” of Halloween with their families, with 80% of all surveyed saying that heading out to trick-or-treat is at the top of their list of things to do on Halloween.

But with Covid-19 cases rising in 26 states, is trick-or-treating considered a safe activity? Here’s what you need to know from several health experts on how you can still celebrate safely.

It’s been a tough year and many Americans refuse to let 2020 take away Halloween.

Despite an ongoing pandemic, most Americans seem dead-set on celebrating Halloween this year, with more than 80% of Americans saying that trick-or-treating is at the top of their lists. Thankfully, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), trick-or-treating brings a lesser Covid-19 risk than events such as house parties and school dances.

But heading outside won’t eliminate all of the risks you must consider.

“In an area where there’s still ongoing community spread [and things] haven’t gotten to the point where things are opening up again, I don’t think trick-or-treating is a great idea,” explains Sandra Kesh, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and the deputy medical director at New York’s Westmed Medical Group. “In areas where the community prevalence is lower, I think it’s okay to plan to trick-or-treat, but it’s going to be a different experience than it was last year,” she told the New York Times.

CDC officials say risk can be lowered in a multitude of ways, mainly by keeping activities to your own home or backyard, or in a controlled walk around the neighborhood. Carving pumpkins, decorating your home inside and on the front porch as well as in the backyard, virtual Halloween costume contests, or movie nights at home, are all considered low-risk activities.

Communities across the country have been struggling with their own guidelines for Halloween. 

In Los Angeles, the county health department initially banned trick or treating, but then said it wasn’t recommended. The department did cancel all Halloween carnivals and haunted houses in the county. 

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she hasn’t decided whether to ban certain Halloween events. “It’s not safe for the children; it’s not safe for the adults,” she said at a news conference. 

New York’s Greenwich Village Halloween Parade was canceled. It usually has about 50,000 marchers and an even bigger crowd.

This Halloween season is causing shifts not only for families and children, but also for businesses that sell all those costumes and candy. Sellers have been optimistic about the upcoming season. The National Retail Federation projects $8 billion in Halloween spending, down from about $8.8 billion last year because of the expected dip in participation in holiday activities.

So how can you stay safe and still have a fun Halloween?

Everything starts with the mask. During Halloween, many costumes already feature masks but it’s important to note that not all masks are equal. “A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask,” the CDC says. “A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps.”

This year you can wear a disposable or reusable cloth mask under a traditional Halloween costume mask, or you could pick from one of the many suitable costume masks that costume and party stores are selling already. These masks will help to keep you safe without spoiling your costume — and they may even be part of it or inspire this year’s theme.

There’s even a the light-up mask, which uses LED lights to create an eye-catching neon effect. This version can change color, allowing you to pick from seven different hues, and it can be recharged using a USB cable.

Go for a ride through a drive-thru haunted house.

While you might think riding, rather than walking, through a haunted house could inhibit your ability to be fully immersed in the spooky surroundings, we will gladly accept any layer of protection from jump scares. 

“Only a thin sheet of glass separates you from terror,” reads the website for BMC Productions’ Terror in the Timbers drive-through haunted house in Chicago. “Guests can expect the unexpected. They’ll experience the same type of scare they’d get with any other big time haunted house – but within the confines and safety of their vehicle,” explained organizer and spokesperson Dan Barrie said, according to NBC Chicago. “The torch lit road will guide guests in their vehicles through a series of vignettes while actors interact during each scene.”

There’s also lots of pop-up drive-in horror-themed movie theatres.

Credit: Kent Nishimura / Getty Images

Sure, you could just curl up at home to watch horror flicks from the comfort of your couch — but with the resurgence of drive-in movie theaters, why not take advantage of a vintage thrill? 

From Indianapolis’ last-remaining drive-in to the big screen in the San Fernando Valley, check your local listings to see where and when you can catch Hocus Pocus and other Halloween classics.

Even Airbnb is offering socially-distanced Halloween ideas.

If driving through a haunted house isn’t enough of a thrill for you, you’re in luck — you can rent your own through popular property-listing sites like VRBO and Airbnb. With houses available near historically haunted locations or on properties long suspected of paranormal activity, there’s a place for every type of thrill seeker — and enhanced safety protocols ensure there’s room for some good, clean fun.

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Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez Are Partnering With Global Citizen For ‘Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World’

Entertainment

Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez Are Partnering With Global Citizen For ‘Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World’

Photo via Getty Images

While the United States is as of publication, has vaccinated over 75 million people against COVID-19 since mid-December, the rest of the world is still catching up. Poorer countries, for example, are struggling to procure enough vaccines for essential workers–let alone their entire population.

Luckily, certain charitable business are making it their mission to get vaccines to the most needy. For example, anti-poverty organization Global Citizen has organized a charity concert with the aim of getting COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries.

Selena Gomez will be hosting the concert, called “VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World”. And none other than Jennifer Lopez will be headlining.

Selena Gomez took to Twitter to announce her involvement in the exciting project. “I’m honored to be hosting ‘VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World,’ ” she wrote.

“This is a historic moment to encourage people around the world to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, call on world leaders to share vaccine doses equitably and to bring people together for a night of music in a way that hasn’t felt possible in the past year. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Jennifer Lopez also took to Twitter to announce her involvement with VAX Live, saying that she is “calling for equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution for all”. That’s a statement we can get behind!

Jennifer Lopez isn’t the only superstar performing. Other acts will include J Balvin, H.E.R., and the Foo Fighters.

Global Citizen has one goal: to raise $22 billion for global vaccinations via corporate and philanthropic donors. They’re hoping VAX Live will bring awareness to their efforts.

“There are 27 million healthcare workers globally who don’t have access to the vaccine,” said Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans to the Associated Press. “I’m 38 years old, and it’s not ethical for me to have access to the vaccine before these heroic first responders and community health workers. So we need governments to start urgently donating those doses.”

Tom Hart, the executive director for another anti-poverty organization, The ONE Campaign, also reiterated the importance of getting vaccine doses into the hands of developing countries.

“Low-income countries not only need this welcome fundraising effort; they need access to COVID-19 vaccine doses,” Tom Hart said.

“The United States has secured over 550 million excess doses that could be used to help end the global pandemic faster.”

You can catch VAX LIVE on ABC, CBS, and iHeartMedia stations on 8:00 p.m. ET on May 8th. It will also be airing on Fox starting at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT the same day. You’ll also be able to catch an extended version on Global Citizen’s YouTube channel on May 8th as well.

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Met Gala 2021 Is Happening And Amanda Gorman Is Set To Host The America-Themed Fashion Event

Entertainment

Met Gala 2021 Is Happening And Amanda Gorman Is Set To Host The America-Themed Fashion Event

Alex Wong/Getty Images

It’s 2021 and the Met Gala is back this year – after being canceled in 2020 thanks to a pandemic – with superstar poet Amanda Gorman being eyed to host the fashion event of the year. Given the 23-year-old’s show-stopping performance at the inauguration, the theme fittingly will be a celebration of America and American designers.

The Met Gala will return in 2021 with a very special guest as host.

Vogue’s “Oscars of Fashion” famously takes place on the first Monday of May. However, this year it’s been pushed back to September 13, in hopes that life will have returned to something closer to normal by then.

Epic poet Amanda Gorman is reportedly in talks to co-host the event alongside Tom Ford, who is the academy’s president. The breakout star of President Biden’s inauguration, Gorman is on the cover of the magazine’s May issue and the subject of a relentlessly glowing profile inside.

The black-tie gala, which raises funds for Met’s Costume Institute, is normally fashion’s biggest night and sees guests from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B to Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and even Maluma.

The event was canceled in 2020 thanks to a global pandemic.

The world’s most glamorous party was canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19, which was (and still is) raging the planet at the time. There was a virtual event in place of the 2020 event, with celebs like Julia Roberts, Priyanka Chopra and Amanda Seyfried showing off their looks from home and stars like Mindy Kaling and Adam Rippon taking part in the #MetGalaChallenge, recreating looks from past years.

This year’s event will draw inspiration from all things USA.

The theme of this year’s Met Gala has not been announced, but Page Six says the night will be devoted to honoring America and American designers, following the 18-month-long COVID crisis in this country.

Recent past themes for the event have included “Camp: Notes on Fashion” (2019), “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” (2018), and “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between (2017). And don’t forget 2016, when Zayn Malik wore robot-arms to Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.

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