Happy Halloween – But Keep Your Distance!
This year has been one for the books with a novel virus that has shut down the entire world and a presidential election that has everyone practically rushing to cast their votes. As spooky as 2020 has been, this Saturday is Halloween – but the regular activities we are all used to doing might not be available due to the pandemic. While local and state lawmakers try to balance between imposing restrictions they feel are necessary to protect citizens and still allowing some entertainment for their constituents, it looks like the holiday may be canceled in many areas of the country. However, there are still some places that are compensating for the lockdowns, and we’ve put together a list of some of the changes across the nation on this mask-wearing holiday.
Many cities and states are not outright forbidding trick-or-treating, but they have cautioned against it and warned that anyone participating will need to wear masks and practice social distancing. Starting with the things that have been canceled or altered:
Los Angeles County, California: Residents here, unfortunately, will not be allowed to have any large gatherings, not even outside. Haunted houses are not allowed either, neither are carnivals. Disneyland’s Oogie Boogie Bash was canceled as well.
Denver, Colorado: The Haunted Trail Adventure will not be available this year.
Orlando, Florida: Theme park celebrations such as Disney’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights will be closed.
Laconia, New Hampshire: The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival, one of the nation’s largest pumpkin carving events, has been canceled.
New York, New York: This year there will not be the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade – the largest event in the country.
But do not despair. Not all Halloween activities are canceled; however, some have been redesigned to fit with COVID-19 restrictions.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa held a drive-in movie and virtual costume contest on Oct. 24.
Detroit, Michigan: Hallowe’en in Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village is celebrating its 40th anniversary and will allow guests to visit and even ride a train, although dining will not be available.
Anoka, Minnesota: Although the annual parade will not be happening, families can still drive past the Grand Day Parade which will be stationary, with marshals and performers keeping a social distance.
Arlington, Texas: Six Flags Over Texas theme park may not have haunted houses, scary mazes, or indoor shows going on, but it will still be open and have a Halloween theme.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Feargrounds will be open, with updated safety measures against the virus, and a scary movie drive-in events are being considered. In one small suburb, trick-or-treaters will be able to visit homes that have their outside lights on which signals the household wishes to participate.
A Horde of Voters
The year of 2020 will likely go down in history as one of the most bizarre and influential years in United States history. Americans suddenly found themselves self-quarantined in their own homes, forced to wear masks in public, and not allowed to attend weddings or funerals of their loved ones. The economy crashed as millions of people were either laid off work, lost their jobs completely, and businesses closing their doors for good – all due to a virus. Then the riots took hold, some lasting months in bigger cities such as Portland, Oregon, and Seattle. And now we have the presidential election.
The number of people who have voted early is impressive – it is already more than half of the votes that were counted in the 2016 election when Donald Trump was elected. According to the United States Elections Project, more than 48 million voters sent in mail-in ballots while 24 million voted in person. In August, the Pew Research Center released a poll that said Americans feel the stakes are higher this election year; a whopping 83% of those polled expressed this concern. In comparison, 20 years ago only about half of those questioned said it mattered who won the presidency.
Water on the Moon?
Is there water on the moon? Yes, we’ve known that for decades. But recently scientists discovered more areas where water can be found, and this is exciting news to NASA. Casey Honniball at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland said, “Water is central to human life but is expensive to launch into space. Finding water on the moon may mean we can utilize the water that is there versus bringing the water with us.” Which is important, as exploring further out into space has become a new focus for the U.S.
In 1971, water vapor was discovered on the moon. In 2009, the first evidence that there was frozen water, or ice, on the surface was discovered. It was originally thought that water could only be found in shadowy places where sunlight does not reach, which would make trying to obtain it dangerous – and quite chilly. Now, however, scientists have found water in sunlit areas.
With more space travel planned, the Artemis Accords were developed as guidelines and rules for astronauts and scientists to share the data with the public. Finding more assessable water on the moon will make it easier for the astronauts to be able to stock and refresh their supplies before continuing on to another destination. It will also make it more viable for astronauts and researchers assigned to the moon for periods of time instead of trying to store and lug it from Earth.
The water find is exciting, but there are still unknowns. William Bottke from the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado said, “Astronauts might also have great difficulty extracting this water. For example, to fill up a bottle, the astronauts might need to process thousands of kilograms of rocks.”