The inspiring reasons why people are howling at the moon during lockdown

Those high-pitched howls reverberating through your neighborhood aren’t wolves — they’re homages to healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic and a silly way of supporting each other during quarantine.

Since shelter-at-home orders have kept people inside for weeks, people in cities across America have been congregating at their windows and howling at the moon at a designated time each night. The collective chorus is a bonding ritual for neighbors and a dedicated routine amid uncertainty.

The Facebook group Go Outside and Howl at 8pm with 559K followers, was started in late March by Denver residents. “Howling is how wolves and coyotes communicate and the sound travels,” moderator Kayla DeShon tells Yahoo Life. “It’s been a stress reliever.” DeShon’s 4-year-old son loves the routine since schools are no longer in session. “He looks forward to it, which makes me so happy,” she says. “Even my mother’s old grouchy neighbor howls.”

Some howl for loved ones lost to COVID-19, others to honor essential employees or to blow off steam after spending their days inside. Group co-founder Shelsea Ochoa tells Yahoo Life that Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31 and World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 were motivators.

The Denver group has also supported people through job loss, addiction and stress. Earlier this month, Colorado governor Jared Polis encouraged locals to let loose.

In multiple cities, 8 p.m. is the universal howl hour. According to DeShon, that’s late enough to be dark but early enough to not wake people up.

In California, the cities of Larkspur, Milli Valley, Novato, Santa Monica and Sausalito howl, along with people in Montana, Idaho and Texas.

The tradition is a wild play on applauding essential workers in cities like New York, where the hashtag #ClapBecauseWeCare is popular and in Italy where people clap from their balconies.

Kyle Pitman of St. Louis, Mo. started the Facebook group 8:00 PM Howl Downtown STL after hearing howls in a neighboring town. “We’re not allowed to see each other, but we can hang out the window,” he tells Yahoo Life. To rally participation, he’s been making the tradition an “event” on Facebook, which electronically alerts neighbors, and Pitman and his wife designed T-shirts that read, “Awoooooo!”

A bell in a local warehouse nearby blares a horn at 8 p.m., orchestrating the howls. “People howl for different reasons,” he tells Yahoo Life, “but mine is, so [people] don’t feel alone.”

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.

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