Since the Tennessee stay-at-home ban was lifted in May, families have had to be flexible and “COVID creative” in order to stay safe when celebrating holiday traditions. Even though COVID-19 has required people to take extra precautions, Baylor wasn’t spooked—Halloween proceeded on campus with great fun shared by students and faculty alike.
For day students living in the Chattanooga area, every neighborhood addressed the traditions of trick-or-treating, haunted houses, and block parties in their own ways. “Well, a lot of people got really creative for giving out candy,” remarked one eighth grader, while describing how some families constructed mini candy slides using PVC pipes to send individually wrapped treats down their porch banisters and into the buckets of eager children. This helped to maintain social distance between the candy-giver and the candy-receiver. He also described some unique COVID-themed costumes, such as hand-sanitizer bottles or even the virus itself. He reported that most trick-or-treaters and parents wore masks, which often coordinated with their costume.
At Baylor, both on campus and off campus activities were available for boarding students and families living on campus. Student Activities hosted multiple mid-week s’mores nights and showed weekend scary movies in the student center. Furthering the Halloween excitement, students interested in a scary experience were able to visit local haunted houses. One tenth grade boarder mentioned how the haunted house she visited did really well following COVID guidelines. “They had hand sanitizer stations throughout the tour, and everyone had their masks on.”
The week of Halloween, pumpkin painting was available in the quad and these artful decorations were on display in the Dining Hall. Friday’s football theme encouraged fans to wear their Halloween costumes as a finale to the preceding weeks. Speaking to several boarders, the overall consensus about Halloween this year on campus was really positive. “There were a bunch of activities, Halloween-related, and I felt it was a nice vibe,” added another tenth grader.
As the first major holiday celebrated on campus, the efforts of careful planning, sensitivity to the pandemic, and COVID creative alternatives to past traditions proved successful and an effort worthwhile. In the midst of stressful events going on in the world, students were able to enjoy a favorite time of year and an added fun seasonal mood on campus.