Students are forced to get creative this year for Halloween amid COVID-19.

In a campus-wide announcement on Thursday, acting Dean of Students David Groom updated students on campus safety procedures for Halloween.

“In partnership between the San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Police departments, the following additional precautions will be taken this Halloween: Increased staffing of vehicle and bicycle patrol officers; Enforcement for alcohol- and noise-related crimes and offenses; Enforcement of violations of public health orders — large gatherings currently restricted by county order,” Groom wrote.

Residential advisors (RA) will also be on-call during Halloween and checking the inside and outside of buildings for safety, University Spokesperson Matt Lazier wrote in an email to Mustang News.

Some students plan to follow COVID-19 guidelines to celebrate, such as environmental management and protection sophomore Aspen Garrido, who is planning on having a “more relaxed” Halloween this year. 

“[My and my roommates’] plan is just to hang out,” Garrido said. “We might do a Netflix scary movie marathon night and we might go to Trader Joe’s, buy some pumpkins and carve them.” 

Garrido still plans on dressing up in costume this year, despite celebrating at home. She plans to dress up as the Little Mermaid while her two roommates plan on being a “beach girl” and a Willy Wonka character. 

“We obviously won’t be having any group gatherings just because in an apartment complex, it is hard to know who has been tested and who has been traveling and stuff,” Garrido said. “We are just going to be keeping it in the apartment just between the three of us and keep everything safe.”

English junior Emily Gassaway plans on carving pumpkins and having  Halloween-themed desserts with her roommates and friends in their backyard. Gassaway also plans on giving out candy to kids in her neighborhood if they knock on her door.

Gassaway said that she is not concerned about COVID-19. 

“It is important to do things and have that time that you spend with the people that you love even with COVID-19,” Gassaway said. “You do what you can do that makes you happy but has the least risk, so no I am not worried.” 

Biology junior Vianna Yang said she will watch a movie with a friend virtually on Saturday. 

She does not have an exact costume planned, but said she will likely wear some bunny ears and makeup while she puts candy out on the sidewalk, rather than at the door.

“We are going to put it in Ziploc bags and then sterilize it with alcohol, leave it in a basket on the sidewalk, and then I am going to sit at the doorstep and make sure people are taking one,” Yang said.

Yang said she is not concerned about COVID-19, considering that few people walk around her neighborhood and that the trick-or-treating will be distanced and sanitary.

Audio by Marcus Cocova

Other students are holding both virtual and in-person contests this Halloween.

Agricultural and environmental plants (AEPS) senior and an officer of Cal Poly’s gardening club Olivia Eck said that the club is holding a virtual pumpkin carving contest where people are sending in photos of their carved pumpkins over direct message on Instagram. 

“Some of [the carvings] are super cute,” Eck said. “We have got some people carving chickens, cats or just scary faces.” 

The officers will rate the pumpkins, pick the top three winners and give them a prize that includes a basket of vegetables and some eggs.

Eck also said that she is going to safely meet up with a few other officers from the club in person to carve pumpkins at the farm where there are picnic benches and tools to use. 

Animal science freshman Jeannie Rim said that her barn in Temecula wine country will host a Halloween event with horses and their owners. 

“There will be a course set up with a couple jumps and then you and your horse have to have a twinning couples costume,” Rim said. “Then you just go and do the course and you get a prize for either you look the best, you did the course the best or you get the highest score.”

Rim said she is not concerned about COVID-19, because the horses will be six feet apart and everyone will be wearing masks. 

In past years anyone could come watch the show, but this year participants can only bring two guests.

“I think the event is going to go well,” Rim said. “I think it is going to be a lot more fun, because we have all been stuck inside and it is giving us an out to be normal-ish as much as we can.” 

Rim said that she does not think Halloween will be as enjoyable this year compared to previous years. 

“In general, the holiday, I don’t think it will be as fun,” Rim said. “Everyone is kind of worried about everything [and I think] it is going to be more stressful.”

In the campus-wide announcement Groom wrote that the decision to celebrate relied on the individual. 

“The choices you make this Halloween are about personal responsibility and making good decisions for ourselves, but it is also about embracing our responsibility to look out for each other as a community,” Groom said.

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