When Halloween, Covid-19, and Racial Tensions Collide
From private celebrations to dealing with racist costumes, here’s how we’re handling All Hallows’ Eve
America is a country divided, and let’s face it: Black people celebrate Halloween in a different way than White people do. Covid-19 only adds to the anxiety. Momentum takes a weeklong look at #HalloweenWhileBlack.
Black people in America have always had an interesting relationship with Halloween. For some, a deep Christian faith has been their reason for making the so-called Devil’s Day a nonstarter in their households. For other African Americans, the reasons that make Halloween sticky — and sometimes scary — are much more secular. But add in Covid-19 and things get extra tricky.
Much like most of America, Black Americans participate in the holiday that last year saw about $82 billion in spending, second only to Christmas, according to some reports. Some folks trick-or-treat, pass out candy, dress up, or throw parties, but there’s always a caveat: Black people often have to deal with a double dose of commercial — and local — racism.
“After the death of Trayvon Martin, there were people dressing up as him with the Skittles and the hoodie as Halloween costumes. That is literally a performance of Black death,” explains Michael Brandon McCormack, PhD, a Pan-African studies professor at the University of Louisville. “After George Floyd, there were memes going around where people staged photographs mocking the manner in which he died. People feel even more emboldened right now and I can imagine Breonna Taylor and those general caricatures of Black people, Mexicans, immigrants, and Muslims being the subject of intense ridicule from White college parties all over the country, unfortunately.”
My Family Didn’t Celebrate Halloween — We Had Hallelujah Parties Instead
But don’t sleep — church celebrations are lit
Now pair that with the 2020 fear of catching a virus from the folks next door who may or may not be working to end the racial injustice issues brought forward in…