Halloween’s Scariest Monster

Halloween, Jack o Lantern, F-CoversTomorrow is Halloween.

Traditionally, people decorate their houses and lawns, kids spend hours deciding what costumes to wear, and moms who don’t sew (like me) try to figure out how to make those costumes happen. People go to parties. Parents split up their duties, one staying home to hand out candy while the other takes the kids around the neighborhood.

Tourists flock to a coven of events in Salem, Massachusetts. Boston By Foot takes hundreds of people on the popular Beacon Hill with a Boo tour. Haunted Houses pop up to raise funds and scare kids. Good times.

A Very Covid Halloween

jack o lantern, October surprise, male impropriety, sexual harassmentThis year, of course, Covid-19 has changed Halloween, just as it has minimized, diminished, or eliminated every other holiday and celebration. Salem cancelled its plethora of witch-themed activities and the city is discouraging people from even coming there. Beacon Hill will not be mobbed, and Boston By Foot is leading no tours.

Kids will still go out trick or treating and some families have developed ingenious candy delivery systems from chutes to ziplines to enforce social distancing. In New England, of course, 2020 is being consistent: the weather will be cold, around freezing.

Three Nights of Frights

To replace walking tours, Boston By Foot scheduled Three Nights of Frights: Zoom tours that take you to spooky places while staying safely at home. Last night was Grave Undertakings. The other two nights offer:

  • The Dark Side of Boston — Friday 7:00 – 8:00 pm
  • True Lies and False Facts: Halloween Edition — Saturday 7:00 – 8:00 pm

You can sign up and enjoy some real-life stores of dark doings and historical horrors to compensate for the things we cannot do. Just go to the Boston By Foot website and register. You’ll have fun.

Boston By Foot, Three Nights of Frights, Halloween, Grave Undertakings

A Jam-Packed Weekend

Perhaps the scariest thing about this weekend, though, is how much has been crammed into a few days. We have Halloween, the return of Daylight Saving Time, and a full moon happening all at once. But wait, there’s more. It’s also a blue moon and the first full moon on Halloween in 20 years. And Halloween falls on a Saturday because 2020 is also a Leap Year. Of course it is.

Halloween, Full Moon, Blue Moon, Blood Moon, Saturday

For those of us who can do without DST, the annual fall back into darkness comes at a particularly unwelcome time. As I said in Wednesday’s post, Covid-19 has restricted our activities, forcing us to spend much more time at home. Now we get to stay there when night falls in mid-afternoon.

Many of the activities that sustained us in the summer, like gardening, boating, hiking, and bicycling get harder to do or have gone away completely. Eating out on a restaurant patio holds less allure when it’s dark and cold, even if a heater is radiating right next to you.

The Scariest Halloween Monster

Jack o Lantern, Mask, Covid-19, social distancingIt goes without saying—although I will say it—that the scariest monster in the world right now isn’t a vampire, a werewolf, a giant dinosaur, or an alien with crystal teeth. It’s a virus too small to see with the naked eye that has infected millions worldwide and killed over a million of us.

So, celebrate Halloween as best you can, while wearing a mask and keeping your social distance. And, as they used to say on Hill Street Blues, “Be careful out there.”


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About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at aknextphase.com. She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

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