Quara-Ween: A Holiday in the Pandemic

by Julien-Pierre Campbell

October has arrived. The trees are a beautiful riot of colors, a carpet of leaves lines the pavement. The air smells cool and fresh, the days are crisp. We’ve all donned sweaters and jackets once again. In my house, we strategically plan out weekends together. “Do you have next Saturday off? Let’s go to the pumpkin patch!” “Movie night on Friday? Have you ever seen The Conjuring?” “Wanna go costume shopping tonight?”

And yet the world has changed. We buy masks that coordinate with our costumes. We cancel our Halloween parties. We prepare a sign for trick-or-treaters apologizing for our lack of candy and our weak immune systems. Perhaps our biggest change is the Rocky Horror Picture Show cabaret’s devastating closure. October is usually my busiest month of the year. We have shows every weekend, travel to Lincoln City to perform at the coast, and perform around six shows in a week during the last week of October. This month, all of that is gone.

It’s no secret that Halloween is my favorite holiday. Those who know me know that I keep decorations up all year, I plan my costume six months in advance. I go to the pumpkin patch every weekend they’re open if I can help it. I can’t explain my die-hard love of the holiday — it’s just a part of me. 

It will be different this year. Instead of the wild performances and debaucheries of Halloween night, we’ll be inside watching movies. Instead of complimenting little ones on their costumes, we’ll be leaving our lights off so as not to disappoint them. My immune system is just too weak, and little kids are magnets for sickness. 

But the air still smells beautiful, Halloween cookies are still delicious, and I can still wear a costume in my home. I can still go to the pumpkin patch if I keep a safe distance from others. I still live with my darling fiancee, and even if we won’t be performing on stage, we’ll still be having fun. 

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