29th November 2020

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Is Halloween Canceled? Not Officially, but …

Weather: Bone-chilling rain and wind in the morning, with the temperature dipping into the upper 30s. Clear and cold on Saturday, then cloudy and rising to near 60 on Sunday.

Alternate-side parking: In effect tomorrow. Suspended on Sunday (All Saints Day).


Late-night frights and spooky traditions will look far different tomorrow than New Yorkers have ever known them.

The pandemic means Halloween won’t involve large parades and packed bars, or perhaps even throngs of trick-or-treaters descending on doorsteps. Many celebrations will be subdued or altered to allow for safety precautions.

[Read more about how revelers across the city plan to celebrate.]

Here’s what to expect:

Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week that children will still be able to take part in frantic quests for candy bars and chocolates. He stressed, however, that trick-or-treating should only be done outdoors — as opposed to in the hallways of apartment buildings.

In New Jersey, officials passed on banning trick-or-treating statewide, though some towns have done so themselves.

Mr. de Blasio has said that unsafe gatherings — where people are not wearing face masks or social distancing — will be broken up if officials become aware of them. Precautions are particularly important, he said, in light of the city’s positive virus test rate hitting 1.92 percent on Thursday, the highest seven-day average in months.

Still, a number of parties and celebrations for young adults at “secret locations” across the city have been advertised for the weekend.

In New York State, haunted houses are observing wide-ranging safety protocols, like temperature checks and reduced capacity.

Take Blood Manor, the 10,000-square-foot attraction in Manhattan: Entrance is limited to 100 guests per hour. In a normal year, as many as 2,500 guests might come through its doors on a busy Saturday.

But the potential for crowding and poor sanitation in indoor spaces has some health experts concerned. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has broadly categorized attending indoor haunted houses as a “higher risk” activity.

Costume shops in Manhattan and Queens were filled with energized crowds in the days leading up to the holiday. Some families were planning to celebrate at home, dressing up and taking part in Halloween-themed activities like carving pumpkins. Others said they would attend outdoor horror movie nights.

For trick-or-treating, several households have crafted makeshift chutes to distribute candy. Many are assembling individual to-go bags of sweets to avoid contact with strangers.

What we’re watching: Joseph Goldstein, who covers health care in New York for The Times, discusses the backlash in Orthodox Jewish communities over virus rules on “The New York Times Close Up With Sam Roberts.” The show airs on Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. [CUNY TV]


The Times’s Melissa Guerrero writes:

Although many performance spaces and community centers are closed, people are finding creative ways to connect through virtual events and programs. Here are suggestions for maintaining a New York social life this weekend while keeping a safe distance from other people.

On Friday at 1 p.m., start the Halloween weekend by participating in an open reading hour. Attendees will choose their favorite Edgar Allan Poe poem and read it online over video or the phone.

Register for the free happening on the New York Public Library’s event page.

Be in costume on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. for a family-friendly celebration. Participants will be treated to different performances — from musicians, puppeteers and magicians — and a children’s food festival with a cooking class.

Reach the livestream link on the event page.

On Sunday at 11 a.m., as part of the Celebrate Mexico Now arts festival, watch “68 Voices, 68 Hearts,” an animated series of short films about Indigenous stories narrated in their native languages. Afterward, listen to a Q. and A. with the filmmaker, Gabriela Badillo.

R.S.V.P. for the free livestream on the event page.

It’s Friday — trick or treat.


Dear Diary:

Growing up in the Rockaways, my summers were pretty idyllic. The beach, which was never crowded, provided hours of ocean swimming, boogie boarding and long walks.

Many of the young people who love Rockaway Beach now think they brought surfing culture out here, but there was a rich and rollicking surf scene in the area when I was growing up in the 1960s and ’70s.

Most of the guys surfed — and through most of the year, too. In those days, there was little opportunity for girls to surf. It simply wasn’t done and, as a female, there was no way to learn.

I have long been mesmerized by the sport. I often stop when I am out for a “power walk” along the shore to admire the surfers’ elegance and prowess (especially in the off-season). It really is a treat.

With female surfers now ubiquitous, I had been thinking wistfully for some time about learning. But there were the usual excuses: I’m too old. I can’t risk injury. I’ll look stupid.

So when I finally took my first surfing lesson two summers ago, I was filled with trepidation, and pride. Facing down fear and doing what one has yearned to do feels pretty momentous.

But it was nothing compared to the feeling of actually surfing, of getting up on the board and being at one with the Atlantic in three (and a half) of my eight tries.

I’ll take it.

— Jane Garfield Frank


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