Trick or Treat Street – A Hint of Pre-Pandemic Normalcy?

Ashley Bollinger, Staff Reporter

Trick or Treat Street – an annual evening filled with candy, games, and a shocking number of spiderman costumes. The silly contests, thrilling haunted house, and that all-too-familiar question “should I eat another Snickers?” (yes being the obvious answer). For years Trick or Treat Street has symbolized the carefree antics of childhood fun. After 2020’s lockdown and the virtual absence of Halloween activities, this year’s night of ghosts and goblins was, for many, a long-awaited return to “normalcy”.

But with COVID-19 still in the air (figuratively and sometimes literally speaking), getting back to normal isn’t as achievable or realistic as it may seem. Even after the arduous task of enforcing and encouraging social distancing, mask mandates, and vaccination, COVID has continued to impact the everyday lives and practices of Americans. After the events of 2020, some speculate that the concept of “normal” has changed entirely. When asked her opinion on the post-pandemic discussion in regards to Trick or Treat Street, Green Mountain Senior and ALST member Melanie Matthews shares “Activities like [Trick or Treat Street] are a step towards being normal again, but it’s a new normal that I think people will have to accept.” As Melanie points out, the idea of normal has changed. This “new normal” is something that, like it or not, people must adjust to. 

Fortunately, new norms are achieved far more often than many realize. Not always as momentous as the pandemic, catalysts for change are all around. Change is inevitable and, in order to smoothly transition from one phase of life to the next, people must accept the differences that a new chapter brings. With the pandemic, this change chiefly consists of conscientious behavior regarding the health and safety of others. In her response, Melanie goes on to share, “I think the best way to move forward with activities while keeping public and personal safety in mind is to have empathy for others. Respect their boundaries and beliefs and do what you can to keep others safe.” As Melanie explains, it is imperative that the well-being of the public stays at the forefront of peoples’ minds. There is strength in numbers and the cooperation of the majority for the well-being of others can create a new normal that is better than the previous. 

Despite its pitfalls, the impact of COVID-19 is in many ways bearable. Humans are creatures that are capable of adapting. Evolving to thoughtfully handle situations such as these better prepares humanity for future crises. In more ways than one, the pandemic has illustrated how institutions and internal systems can be improved. For example, the pandemic has opened health officials’ eyes to the necessity of disease response and updated health guidelines. With these silver linings, it’s hard not to recognize the many ways that COVID has negatively affected millions. The cold hard fact is: this virus has irreversibly altered the world. People witness these changes every day. However, with the consistent nature of humans to grow and improve, there is hope for a time when a mask is not necessary to see coworkers, or classmates, or even friends. And in relation to school and GM activities such as Trick or Treat Street – they may not be the same as in the past; but with hard work and awareness, they have the possibility of being better.