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8-18 Media: Holiday memories

Anja McBride

The coronavirus pandemic has given me more time to reminisce in old memories. I already wrote about my first MLB White Sox Baseball Game, so now I am going to write about my favorite moments and traditions from the holidays over the years and how Covid changed some of my holiday traditions.

Let’s start with Halloween. I turn 16 this year and plan on it being the final year for trick-or-treating. For the past decade, I enjoyed participating in the downtown trick-or-treating event, where kids pass through the participating stores and receive candy. But, thanks to Covid, this was cancelled, so my friend Althea and I had to think of other options for how to spend Halloween together. First, both our families quarantined a lot so we knew it was safe to see each other. Then, about a week and a half before Halloween, Althea and I carved pumpkins together. She made a Packer logo (BOO! Sorry to disappoint you, but I am a BIG Chicago Bears Fan) and a cat face, as well as a dinosaur per the request of her stepdad. I made a wolf and a disco ball. We had such a fun day together.

Then a few days later it was Halloween. I walked over to her house with an inflatable costume that made it appear as if I was riding an ostrich (this costume also ended up on this year’s Christmas card), and smiled when people shouted out their car windows, “Is that an ostrich?” or “Love your costume!” Althea made a homemade costume that dressed her up to look like the main character of the 60’s show “Bewitched.” We took a few pictures together before starting our hour-long trek around her neighborhood. It is not every year that I get the chance to walk around a neighborhood and trick-or-treat that way. My neighborhood, which is just a few blocks from Althea’s, does not have many trick-or-treat stops. We walked around, laughing and taking pictures of cool pumpkins, even finding a house that had set out two simply carved pineapples. It made us think of Florida. We found a house that was Covid safely giving out full-sized Yooper Bars, by using a pulley system to move a bucket of candy bars from the porch where she was standing to the sidewalk where we were standing. Kudos to them for thinking outside the box to spread joy and laughter during Covid-19.

By the end of the hour, both of us were sore, but happy to be carrying filled-to-the-brim bags of candy that included five full-size candy bars. I ended up being happy that I didn’t participate in the downtown trick-or-treating event, it is very fun but seems to be directed more for younger kids, so it was more fun to walk around, catching up with a friend and commenting on decorations. Plus, we got so much more candy than we would downtown. Although, right as we were just a few feet away from entering her house again and sorting through (and eating, of course) our candy, my bag fell open and each and every piece fell out. Luckily, I was able to scoop it back in to my bag, though luckily everything was wrapped because it did mix with a few wet leaves.

I have spent so many Halloweens covering up my costume with winter gear, or slipping on ice. We walked into her house and dumped out our candy, sorting through it and trading some. A little while later, I headed home, remarking to my mom, who did not get very many trick-or-treaters, just how much fun I had. I was also feeling very happy and blessed that there was no ice and barely any snow, which is an almost impossible scenario for Michigan at the end of October. This was definitely the best day of my pandemic experience.

The next holiday my family celebrates is Christmas. Usually, my family all gathers in Lombard, Illinois at my Aunt Alana’s house. We eat delicious feasts, catch up and have hilarious and heartwarming conversations, and open and exchange presents. This year was devastating when we realized we wouldn’t be doing that because we needed to avoid risking everyone’s health. So, for both Christmas and New Year’s, I spent my days binging the show “Arrowverse,” which I highly recommend watching on Netflix or YouTube. I also thought of a quote that I think perfectly matches these pandemic times: “The only thing organized in my life is my Amazon account!” I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy, and if you’re not, hang in there! Things will get better!

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