COVID BOOS

Parker Cancels Halloween Parade Amid Pandemic

COVID+BOOS

The screaming and laughter of masked kids walking up and down the streets in their neighborhoods, grabbing candy from each house normally fills the streets on the night of October 31. This year, the night will be filled with social distancing and a different kind of mask. COVID-19 has brought many challenges to the Parker community and, as a result, Parker administrators have been forced to reschedule or cancel many Parker traditions. The Halloween parade is the latest to be cut. This year, Halloween will involve empty hallways, kids in normal clothing, no bowls of candy or lost costumes on the floor — it will be just like any other day at school. 

Halloween 2020 has been a topic of great discussion within the administration this year. The excitement and exhilaration of dressing up on Halloween and walking through the halls, showing off costumes to the rest of the school is always a highlight of the entire school year for the Lower School students. Hundreds of Middle and Upper School students come together with parents and families to watch the Lower School students and their Big Brothers and Sisters walk through the halls. However, attending the Halloween parade exposes kids to many students outside of their pod, which is not ideal under the current circumstances. In response, the administration and teachers came up with a plan that allowed the students to have a fun and memorable Halloween experience while staying safe and socially distant.

John Novick, Head of Intermediate and Middle Schools, and acting Head of Lower School Barbra Hunt, sent an email to Parker families on October 1 regarding Halloween this year. “Given our current health and safety guidelines, in particular those related to the handling of objects, the gathering of crowds in hallways, stairwells, the podding of students and the physical distancing of all, there will not be a Halloween parade this year, and students school-wide will not wear costumes to school,” the email read.

Halloween was not worth the potential health risks for the community.”

— John Novick

Before cancelling the parade, Novick and Hunt sat down and looked at the health and safety protocols that Parker has set in place in order to keep students safe. They determined that they could not hold the parade in a safe manner. “Halloween was not worth the potential health risks for the community,” Novick said.

According to Novick, few parents reached out to discuss Halloween. The only feedback that the parents gave after in-school Halloween events were canceled has been positive. 

Even though the costume and parade components of Halloween were canceled this year, parents hope that some teachers will plan something fun in the classrooms for Halloween. “I think right now there is a greater focus on making the most of our time together on campus,” Novick said. “Given the pandemic, we really don’t have any idea how long we’ll be able on campus, JK-8, whether it will be weeks or months.” 

Fifth grade student Gigi Warning is sad that she will not be able to dress up for Halloween and walk around the school. “For my friends and I, Halloween is very fun and exciting because we all get really cool costumes and then come to school and show everyone our costumes,” Warning said. The students don’t know if there will be any fun activities at school this year. Warning hopes that she is able to do some fun Halloween worksheets or Halloween games in class instead. 

Although Morning Ex has not been in the auditorium this year, the Morning Ex Committee have been sending out weekly videos to keep the community involved. The committee will be making a Halloween video that will be shared with the whole school. 

“It will basically be someone telling stories like Ms. Beh used to do,” Morning Ex Committee Head Gray Joseph said regarding the video. In the past, former Lower School Drama teacher Chris Beh sat on the stage during MX with lots of Halloween decorations telling stories to the whole school. This was a long-standing tradition, and bringing it back through an MX video will bring joy to lots of the students.