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  1. Opinion

Halloween is not canceled, because we are living it

Stephanie Hayes | Step into the haunted house of 2020, where real life has been scary enough.

Please narrate the following in a Vincent Price voice.

Welcome, ghouls and goblins, to a banquet of the macabre, a chilling chamber of foreboding. Step up to our haunted house, where horrors lurk around every corner. No flash photography, please, lest we disturb the restless souls.

Dastardly rumors abound that Halloween will be canceled this year, but visitors, we assure you that is not the case. What is that mist? It is the chill of phantasmagoria! It is also our patented layer of alcohol-based sanitizer for your protection. Please be advised that we are not responsible for any damage to clothing.

Recoil in terror as you enter a spooky superspreader event. Here, Victorian ghosts gather at a Florida bar where all COVID-19 regulations have been lifted. Try to avoid the tightly-packed spirits as they pass around a chalice of forbidden wine and say, “Mmm, try this!” They sneeze, they hug, they lunge, following you into the bathroom to share lipsticks. Flee, mortals!

Ghastly dread awaits in the hall of undead presidents. The air clangs with discordant caterwauling, bodies misshapen by funhouse mirrors. The candidates have chainsaws. A moderator appears from the shadows, ashen, eyes sunken. Withering, gasping, he repeats, “Sir… sir… sir.” But it is futile. Time is running out to very clearly condemn white supremacy. Get out of here, and fast. This is not a good place. This is The Bad Place. We mean it, you better run.

What otherworldly delights reside around this bend? Why, it’s a flock of murder hornets, rising sea level, mask-related acne and a coven of three tropical storms hunched over a bubbling cauldron. They recite an evil poem and sprinkle in the remains of a forgotten Sweet Tomatoes.

An army of zombie teachers who have not slept in one thousand years are coming this way, in grim corporeal form. But, wait! You are protected by the ancient powers of this 4-foot acrylic shield that does not in any way detract from the haunted house experience.

There is only one escape. Can you conjure up the exit before it’s too late? Yes, it’s there, through the Microsoft Teams portal. The whispers grow louder as steam seeps from these diabolical rectangles with the faces of colleagues you once knew. Mute yourself. Mute yourself. MUTE YOURSELF.

You depart, screaming, into the night air, at which point you frantically Google Centers for Disease Control guidelines for “night air.” You have broken free from this pestilent knot. And yet, the rest of the year looms.

Please exit through the gift shop.

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