Halloweekend will look different for USC students this year

As the pandemic continues, students share their plans for Halloween.

As Halloween approaches, students shared their cautious approach for their plans this year. A holiday usually filled with many frights and festivities will be much tamer this year around.

USC students are adjusting their plans to fit the new COVID-19 regulations from Los Angeles County, which prohibit all gatherings and parties, even those held outside. Among what is permitted and recommended are online parties, car parades that comply with public health guidelines and dressing up homes and yards with Halloween themed decorations.

“Halloween is typically a very busy night for deputies,” DPS Assistant Chief David Carlisle said. “It’s a very busy evening, lots of social events, lots of students having a good time. This year, things are different because of the recent restrictions placed by the state, the county and the city of Los Angeles.”

Carlisle added that the primary role of DPS is to provide information and advise students on safe practices.

“Our role is more education than enforcement. We want to keep our student population well-informed,” Carlisle said. “But most of the students have been very good at cooperating and adhering to the health recommendations from the state, the county and the city and the university.”

When safety guidelines are violated, Carlisle said DPS will issue a written report to the Student Compliance Committee, which will decide on follow-up actions, such as advising students on USC’s expectations for safe behavior.

“If there is a chronic problem — a person continues or intentionally holds social events in violation of the rules — there could be more severe steps taken by the university sanctions up to being denied access to campus for the rest of the semester,” Carlisle said.

Because of the restrictions in place, students are finding alternative ways to enjoy the holiday.

“I’m thinking we will all get dressed up and have friends over or go to another apartment to have food and hang out,” said Bella Patrick, a sophomore public relations major, said. Patrick is currently living at The Lorenzo apartments close to the USC campus. “All of our friends pretty much get tested weekly and we are going to be wearing masks.”

Karla Banning, a sophomore history major, is a San Diego native but is currently living in an apartment near campus.

“I obviously won’t be going out to any crazy parties or anything like that,” Banning said. “However, I definitely want to dress up for Halloween.”

Saulius Galvanauskas, a sophomore history major living in Michigan, also plans to take a cautious approach to celebrate Halloween. “I think I’ll probably hang out with a couple of my friends that I’ve been spending time with during COVID,” he said. “I will definitely not be doing as much as what I usually do.”

In the past, the Residential Housing Association has hosted “Spirits at Troy,” welcoming local families on campus to celebrate Halloween.

“[We] invite families from the local community to campus for safe and fun trick-or-treating carnival,” RHA wrote in an email. “Due to COVID-19 and the county guidelines, we will not be hosting this event this year.”

L.A. county officials originally banned trick-or-treating countywide, but have since shifted their guidelines to “not recommending” the activity. This is because it is hard to maintain proper social distance at porches and front doors when door-to-door trick-or-treating.

“It’s really sad to think that kids aren’t gonna have a normal Halloween experience,” Banning said. “Especially because I feel like Halloween for kids is so much fun.”