Oct 28th, 2020, 10:00 PM

Hocus Focus

By Vivian Stuart
Image Credit: Wordpress/bmj2k.com
Something wicked this way comes and how to prepare

The year 2020 has already felt like a scary simulation that no one registered for. Yet, there’s a lot of newfound despair around the recommendations that traditional Halloween activities be canceled. Boo. Though the main event is on October 31st, Halloween is celebrated from the beginning of October till the end of the month. People relish in the changing of the seasons, as well as the creepy crawly-ness of the holiday. Bloody decor and skeletons galore.

For young children, Halloween is a holiday to dress up in a costume, go trick or treating in your neighborhood, and gorge on collected candy. For adult children, Halloween is a time to dress up and get up to no good. With the global pandemic looming, young and adult children alike, are saddened by the restricted festivities.

We all know that no matter the circumstances the Halloween spirit can’t be extinguished. In fact, that spirit and energy can be channeled into actions to combat COVID-19 and to exercise our Constitutional right. Tis the season of change, but it’s not the time to get comfortable.

I have tricks or treats to offer those chasing that Halloween high:

Trick: On October 16th, President Macron put in place a 4-6-week curfew from 21h-6h in an effort to flatten the curve. Now that the curfew is a matter of French law, those who breach it could be issued a fine of up to 1,500 euros. In light of the continued spread of the virus, President Macron announced a lockdown on October 28th. The French government is set to announce its policy tomorrow.

Treat: Your coven can still gather by the light of the moon. Host your seance and chant in unison (with a slight delay) over video chat platforms like Teams or Zoom. Drink your brews responsibly and at a distance, just make sure you have enough time ride your broomstick home. Let’s keep Paris a ghost town for now. Of course, stay updated on the evolving guidelines and safety measures.

Trick: The Haunting of COVID-19. The New York Times reported that coronavirus has infected over 44 million people worldwide, and that there have been at least a million cases in France. American University of Paris (AUP) President Celeste Schenck acknowledged in recent statement sent to students and families that there has been a total of 28 positive tests amongst AUP students since September.

Treat: The easiest costume since the beginning of time, besides cutting two eyeholes in a bed sheet, is wearing a face mask. Face masks should cover your nose & mouth and are meant to be worn in public spaces. AUP Health Services emphasizes the importance of disinfecting and handwashing as frequently as possible.

Trick (for Americans Abroad): The 2020 US Presidential elections. To me, the scene from the seasonal cartoon classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown perfectly illustrates the general election. The Peanuts crew is out trick or treating and the friends say, “I got chocolate” or “I got candy”, and Charlie Brown looks in his bag and says, “I got a rock.” The American people got rocks this year, which has resulted in one of the most consequential elections in America.

Treat (for Americans Abroad): VOTE. Many Americans are frustrated with the state of their country, but it’s not enough to stick pins in your voodoo dolls. You’ve got to put the pen to the ballot, then the ballot in the mail or local drop box if you want any kind of say in the America you want to live in.

To get started on your overseas voting plan go to www.votefromabroad to learn more. More than 70 million Americans have already voted, and you can still be counted alongside them. If you have already voted, check-in with family and friends to see if they have a voting plan. 

In the words of AUP President Celeste Schenck, “There’s still time, but the clock is ticking.”

So, there it is. Let the tricks, treats and rocks of 2020 inspire you to be a responsible and proactive member of your community.  Our Halloween celebration may look different this year, but there are things we can be doing now to make sure the world looks different, dare I say, better next year. So, answer me this. Trick or treat?