Missing are the parties and contests, showing off elaborate costumes, and good old fashioned trick-or-treating. Halloween, just like the rest of the past and upcoming holidays this year, has been altered.

Happy Halloween!

The ongoing pandemic has affected everything that we considered normal and probably took for granted. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, even a simple date night out have all been squashed as El Pasoans continue to grapple with a deadly health crisis.

By this time, sans a pandemic, I would have already planned out my costume and a sugar-fueled night out, house party-hopping that would ultimately end with my friends and I dancing at some club in downtown El Paso.

I would love nothing more than to dress up and get together with my friends, but I know that's not an option for me this year. These are not normal times, so I’m okay with making Halloween a stay at home adventure this year.

Health officials are also reminding our community that Halloween restrictions are in place this weekend, including a mandatory curfew.

El Pasoans are reminded to stay home and to mind the local directives prohibiting gatherings in an excess of 10 people that are not household members.

According to the City of El Paso, “Parties of any kind are not allowed and any violation of the order is punishable by a fine not to exceed $250.”

With an upsurge of COVID-19 infections, Halloween may not be the only holiday that we see restrictions imposed upon because if we don’t contain this virus soon, we can bet on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year festivities to be grounded too.

This weekend, stay safe, and thanks again for masking it up, El Paso.

For more information on testing and COVID-19 prevention, visit epstrong.org.