Nightly Howling Unites Front Range

At 8 PM every night, Coloradans have begun to howl as a way to connect


Source: Pixabay

When the clock strikes 8:00, you may hear the howls of the community showing their appreciation for the first responders out there taking care of everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elicia Ramu, Editor

Have you felt like there’s been a pack of wolves in your backyard lately?

That’s probably because there has been. people have been going outside or opening up their windows at 8:00 p.m. every night and howling. Some have done it to show their appreciation for the first-responders in our community, others to grieve the loss of a loved one, and some just for the fun of it. The nocturnal baying has become a ritual that has been bringing together both our Frederick-Firestone community and communities all over the world.

The howling began with two Denver friends who, living nearby each other but could not meet up because of the stay-at-home order, started howling at each other for fun. Then several neighbors started to howl as well. Soon, a Facebook group cropped up: Go Outside and Howl at 8pm.  As more people joined the group or learned about it through the NextDoor app, the howling spread to Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and even California. Now the Facebook group is over 500,000 strong and the sound of wolves has become a nightly treat.

“It’s so much fun,” senior Lexey Royer told us. “It’s amazing to hear everyone every night. It’s such a powerful thing to show us all that there’s still hope and that we’re all still here.”

Most of the howlers on the Facebook group have said that they howl every night as a way to vent their frustrations from being pent up at home all day. Citizens of other countries have found similar ways to vent, from Italian DJs playing techno from their balconies to Spaniards singing out their windows at the same time every night.

All of these acts from around the world serve as a way for people to connect through a single communal act. This is clear form the description of the Facebook site: “INVITE YOUR PEEPS! Let’s see how many people the world over we can get to howl in one night!” The act has even been endorsed by Colorado Governor Jared Polis as a way to show appreciation to the nurses, doctors, police, mail carriers, and grocery stores workers who are risking their well being and safety to provide and take care of others.

“There are two nurses that live on my street, and I know they appreciate it,” junior Kayla Lorimer said. “It is little awkward just standing in your yard howling, but I’m glad knowing it makes them happy.”

The howling also serves another purpose: a cry of morning. At the time of this writing, nearly 800 Coloradans have died from COVID-19 as the infection rate is just starting to plateau. Several of their loved ones, as noted by their posts on the Facebook group, have taken to howling as a form of keening, an act of crying out in sadness. Keening is a centuries-old custom to help people deal with their grief over losing a loved one–the howling seems to be the Western version of this ancient Scottish ritual.

Whether as an act of mourning or as a way to celebrate our hardest working neighbors in the medical and service fields, the baying of wolves at 8 PM is inescapable. While the noise has irritated a few spoil-sports (junior Jacob Noyes groused that “it sets off all of my dogs barking”), it seems that the howling has connected our community in a way that wasn’t possible before the pandemic.

After all, as the Facebook group contends, “What better time to howl than this time of isolation?”