Celebrating Halloween during the coronavirus pandemic

Illustration of coronavirus

Vice President for Student Life R. Kevin Marbury and Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh sent the following message to students on how to safely celebrate Halloween during the pandemic.

Dear students,

As you know, we are committed to our goal of creating a safe and inclusive campus, so all students can thrive. As we approach this coming weekend, we want to remind everyone to:

Take care of yourself and take care of your friends, guests, and each other.

COVID-19 Expectations

We are asking students to adhere to university COVID-19 expectations and keep in mind community safety during any Halloween celebration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that many traditional Halloween festivities and activities can be high-risk for spreading COVID-19. The CDC cautions “If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.” For ideas from the CDC for safer ways of celebrating Halloween, please visit the CDC website.

We strongly suggest you follow Oregon Health Authority guidelines and not gather with people outside your household. If you choose to gather, remember the State of Oregon has limited social gatherings to 10 people or less. Complete your symptom check before gathering, wear a face mask that covers your mouth and nose, practice social distancing throughout the event, stay outside or in open air, and do not share cups or utensils.

Alcohol and Drug Reminders

The legal drinking age is 21 and it is illegal to provide alcohol to minors. These laws are always enforced in the state of Oregon and will be highly enforced around the time of Halloween. The heightened police presence is an effort to ensure the safety of our community.

We recognize that some students may choose to engage in high-risk behaviors, such as binge drinking or illicit drug consumption. At the end of the day, our priority is ensuring and maintaining the safety of each other. A few years ago, medical amnesty was passed at the state level. Medical amnesty allows people to call emergency response, such as 9-1-1, when needing medical support. It protects you if you call for help for yourself or for another person from incurring a Minor in Possession (MIP). This law is especially helpful when someone needs attention for alcohol poisoning or when alcohol was used in other acts of violence. Don’t forget the signs of alcohol poisoning — shallow breathing, unresponsiveness, cold or clammy skin, pale or bluish color, vomiting, and mental confusion. We want to encourage you all to call and get help for alcohol poisoning or experiences of violence.

See Something, Say Something, Do Something

As mentioned above, we recognize that there is an increase in high-risk behaviors this time of year. These can create vulnerable spaces and cause individuals to be targeted by people with predatory intentions. Alcohol is the number one drug predators use to facilitate sexual assault. It is our responsibility as Ducks to actively protect each other by 1) not violating one another and 2) intervening in potentially harmful situations. Do not assume that others will intervene — we act because we know it’s ALL of our responsibility to prevent sexual violence. When you hear something, say something. When you see something, do something.

Halloween Costumes: We are a Culture, Not a Costume

We also want to remind everyone to choose costumes that are respectful to others and that are in keeping with our community standards. Costumes that reinforce negative stereotypes of cultures and groups are offensive and not appropriate. Around the time of Halloween, we often see costumes that reinforce racism, sexism, and classism, when people dress up as a Native American or in Black face, as an immigrant, etc. As active and respectful community members, we expect everyone at the University of Oregon to dress in ways that are respectful to all members of our community.

Events on Campus This Week

There are a number of Halloween events that offer fun, free entertainment and activities for UO students this week, including:

We are so proud of everyone’s commitment to ensuring a safe campus for all. Do not hesitate to intervene in situations that are inappropriate. Be an active bystander. We are here to support you in your college experiences and academic pursuits, and the first step in achieving that is establishing a safe, respectful and inclusive campus.

Sincerely,
Kevin and Yvette

R. Kevin Marbury
Vice President for Student Life

Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion