UT students find ways to celebrate spooky season during pandemic

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Photo Credit: Sylvia Asuncion-Crabb | Daily Texan Staff

After a trip to Target, Camryn Davis came home with two new roommates: Kenny and Lenny.

“I can’t celebrate Halloween in the traditional sense, so I figured it’d be funny to have two plastic skeleton men in my apartment,” said Davis, a radio-television-film sophomore. “You’re stuck in your apartment anyway, so why not make it festive?”

The pandemic has interrupted most Halloween traditions, such as trick-or-treating and going to parties, but students are still finding ways to enjoy the spooky season. 

“I’m more excited for Halloween than I usually am because it’s a day that’s going to be different than all the other days,” mechanical engineering sophomore Alaina Tibbs said. “We finally get a break from the same routine we’ve been caught in since March.”  

Tibbs said Halloween has been her favorite holiday since middle school, and she always hangs up spider webs and skull décor around her room to get into the Halloween spirit. She usually gives herself a year to plan her costumes, dressing in a new one each weekend of October, Tibbs said. Her group costume designs with her friends fell through this year because her friends either stayed home this semester or didn’t feel safe getting together.  

“I’m used to (Halloween) being where you’re around a bunch of people and bonding with strangers,” Tibbs said. “You pass by different people and are like, ‘Hey, I love your costume.’ It’s literally the perfect meet-cute.”

Tibbs said she and her roommates have planned a week of festivities leading up to Halloween. It involves carving jack-o'-lanterns, having a Tim Burton movie marathon and going to a “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” drive-in. 

 

Davis said she also plans to watch horror movies, but her favorite thing to do to get into the holiday spirit is visiting haunted houses. 

“I can’t go to a real haunted house, so I created a personal (one) for my roommates,” Davis said “I’ll hide in the dark and do the clap from ‘The Conjuring’ or click my tongue like the girl from ‘Hereditary’ while my roommates walk by. God, they hate me.” 

Divya Nagarajan, public health and biochemistry sophomore, said she plans to celebrate Halloween like in years prior.   

A week before Halloween, she and 10 of her friends are getting tested for COVID-19, and if none of them test positive, they will have a small house party. 

For the past two months, Nagarajan has only closely interacted with two people: her roommate and her boyfriend. She said the house party is a way to reunite with her larger circle of friends and celebrate her favorite holiday. 

“I finally have something on my calendar to look forward to,” Nagarajan said. “In my mind, Halloween is the big finale before the semester ends. I honestly don’t know what else we have to look forward to.” 

Tibbs, Davis and Nagarajan said the hardest part about Halloween this year will be losing the social interactions. The nature of the holiday makes it difficult to comply with procedures such as maintaining social distancing guidelines and sanitizing. 

“It’s different, but it’s fun reinventing Halloween in the midst of a global pandemic,” Tibbs said. “Carving pumpkins or watching ‘Corpse Bride’ are good distractions from the constant stress we’ve been under for eight months. (Halloween) gives us a sense of normalcy.