Halloween is one of the next big questions as we all traverse COVID-19 and getting back to some sense of normalcy as the pandemic situation appears to be improving.

St. Michaels town commissioners on Wednesday looked for some sort of middle ground on Halloween 2020.

They voted not to prohibit trick-or-treating or other holiday activities. But they also opted not to promote Halloween and want potential visitors know there will not as many trick-or-treating or holiday events.

This dynamic is playing out in a communities and households across the Shore, across the state and across the country. Should kids go trick-or-treating? And what about parties, haunted houses and hayrides?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control actually issued warnings against many of the usual Halloween activities deeming them ‘high-risk’ during the coronavirus pandemic.

We agree that we should all be responsible and wear masks when in crowds or at events. We should be especially careful around seniors and those with preexisting conditions.

But we certainly hope other communities do not totally ban Halloween especially as COVID numbers improve and more of the economy reopens.

Maryland’s COVID-19 situation is reason for cautious optimism. Gov. Larry Hogan reported Thursday the state’s seven-day average positivity rate is down to 2.57% — the lowest level since the pandemic began. The state’s daily positivity rate is 2.63 percent. That coronavirus indicator has been under 5% since June 25 — 91 days ago, according to the governor.

In Talbot County, the seven-day positivity rate is 3.21 percent with 551 total cases. Halloween is more than a month away giving communities and all of us time to adjust our thinking and planning accordingly — just ask Big Ten football about changing dynamics and mindsets.

Just like with other events and endeavors, there can be responsible ways to celebrate Halloween and other upcoming holidays.

While indoor parties continue to be a concern for spreading the virus, there are plenty of outdoor ventures, including on Halloween, that can be done responsibly.

At this point in the pandemic, we like St. Michaels’ approach of allowing individuals and families to decide for themselves when it comes to Halloween. We should mask up still but we also need to responsibly get back to normal.

The economy and our collective mental health seriously need this. People are again tired of social isolation. They also want to get back to work. Some of us are also growing tired of being told what do by ‘medical experts’, the media and finger-wagging chastisers.

Halloween, Oct. 31, falls on Saturday this year. This creates a reality that people will be wanting to get out and about more.

Our hopes are for those who choose to take their kids or grandkids trick-or-treating or choose to go out to do so responsibly and continue to mask up appropriately. We also hope that others who choose to stay in and not participate are respectful of others’ decisions.

Politics has too often clouded COVID-19 debates including over how and when schools will reopen. We hope Halloween and other upcoming holidays changes that narrative and we focus on protecting public health, saving jobs and responsibly getting back to normal.

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