Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, masks have been required and highly encouraged since the early part of this year. Another part of the year that encourages masks is All Hallows Eve, aka Halloween.
Associate director of university safety Andrew Englert said while Halloween masks are allowed on campus, they are not to be used in place of a surgical mask, and students should not violate the masking mandate issued on campus. Students may also be required to identify themselves to campus security if the student’s whole face is covered.
Englert said students will be asked to remove Halloween masks if they were violating campus policy.
“It would draw attention, and the student or the individual in the mask may be requested to identify themselves, and obviously would have to abide by all the campus policies and regulations,” Englert said. “So, if you're using that mask to disguise your identity and engage in other policy violations on campus, you probably would be approached and your identity would be requested.”
Englert encouraged students to have a safe and fun Halloween by practicing social distancing and wearing a mask appropriate for whatever facilities they are going to.
David Hall, director of university safety, encouraged students to wear masks that didn’t impact visibility. Hall stressed if students are out at night, making sure to be seen and be able to see are key alongside protecting themselves and others from the virus. By wearing a reflective surface, motorists can better see students at night.
Hall encouraged students to wear both a Halloween mask and a surgical face mask underneath to help combat the virus. He also stressed that students need to be aware of their surroundings.
“Be aware of your surroundings, travel in pairs, that kind of thing anytime that it's dark,” Hall said. “There are certain individuals that will take advantage of situations if you've got a mask or a costume that makes it hard for you to be able to see or get away. We would encourage you to just increase thinking about what's a safe way to be able to have a good Halloween.”
For students wishing to purchase a Halloween mask, Spirit Halloween has locations at 1749 S. Campbell Ave. and 3500 S. Glenstone Ave. According to their website, Spirit Halloween has over 1,400 stores in both the United States and Canada. The retailer provides Halloween costumes, decorations, props, animatronics and more every Halloween season.
There is also Party City at 2620 S. Campbell Ave. Party City has over 850 locations, according to their website, and provides both costumes and party supplies to customers.
This Halloween, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines to keep people safe. Their website provides a list of low to high risk activities ranging from looking at Halloween decorations to trick-or-treating in person.
Carving or decorating pumpkins
Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
Participating in one-way trick-or-treating with individually wrapped candy
Having a socially distanced costume parade outside
Attending a socially distanced costume party held outdoors with protective masks
Participating in traditional trick-or-treating/trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out door to door
Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
Attending an indoor haunted house or hayride where people may be crowded together and screaming
Going to an indoor haunted house or hayrides with people who are not in your household