It can be hard to mentally prepare yourself to miss something you love, especially when the idea of it vanishing into the ether never crossed your mind. But Halloween, like every other fun thing this year, is a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The loss of the holiday stings almost as much as the vampire makeup running into your eyes in the middle of the dance floor.

Let’s not forget, though, that it’s important to stay safe — to keep the fun well ventilated and socially distanced with close pals. Plus, who wants to catch the coronavirus dressed up as Joe Exotic in Stocks? The CDC has some neat guidelines on how to celebrate Halloween this year, but everyone knows the one place not to be is in a bar.

So don’t do that. Instead, bust out last year’s costume, and shower your home in glitter, cheap vodka and pumpkin guts. While we may not be able to enjoy the spookiest of seasons to its fullest extent, we can always reminisce.

Journey back to late October of last year. Before the ground was covered in a foot of snow. Before DoorDashing every night was okay. When Spirit Halloween, a carnival of cheaply made, spooky delights, would pop up in random abandoned buildings.

Life was good. It was simple. It entailed going to the liquor store to buy ALL the cheap booze for a party that took 20 minutes of meticulous planning. The crisp air, the complete spectrum of red in the crunchy leaves and the overwhelming, nostril-burning smell of hairspray made early-evening preparations for Halloween shenaniganry feel alive (and a brain cell killer, for sure).

Then it was time. The door burst open, and the crew hit the town. From your friend’s extremely detailed recreation of Sporty Spice to your roommate’s last-minute “my mustache is my costume, deal with it,” the gang was ready. And so was Missoula. Somehow, the Garden City has always felt like it was made for Halloween.

Whatever happened next — that stayed between you and Halloween. But those were the before times.

Now, all the local stalwarts of the season, including “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Disco Blood Bath, haunted houses and friends’ crying in the bathroom because someone else had the same costume, are gone. But their memories remain. So, crack open a pumpkin-flavored 40 ounce, pour one out and STAY HOME.


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