By Daniel Casillas, MWN
New spikes of COVID-19 cases, as well as quarantine measures implemented in several countries, are expected to decrease people’s participation in Halloween celebrations. According to the annual survey by The National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, just 58 percent of U.S. adults plan to celebrate Oct. 31 this year. This figure is 10 percentage points down from last year’s 68%, as consumers are understandably wary of traditional events in the face of the pandemic.
“The expectation for Halloween is a level below last year by about 10%. However, this would not include amusement parks and Halloween attractions that are not part of retail sales. These non-retail Halloween attractions will be significantly reduced this year due to the pandemic,” Tom Arnold, professor of finance at the Robins School of Business and expert in Halloween and retail, explained to Metro.
Despite lower participation, experts believe that many people will still take on activities that are considered to be safe.
Arnold added: “I believe Halloween involving children will be celebrated with some form of trick-or-treating that does not involve going house to house. This could be done virtually or potentially within small closed groups who currently interact with each other regularly.”
Whether it is home-based or virtual, specialists say that it is important, especially for children, to follow holiday traditions, as they can help maintain morale in difficult times.
“While Halloween may look a little different this year, maintaining some of our holiday traditions can help to keep morale up among children and families during an otherwise difficult time,” Rain Henderson, adjunct assistant professor of health policy and management at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, said.
Henderson explained how to make Oct. 31 fun and safe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic:
Families. Halloween has three essential elements which are costumes, candy and community. We can enjoy each of these things but just a little differently than in past years.
Costumes. There is nothing preventing anyone from having fun designing or buying the costume that suits their imagination and wearing it as often as they want around and on Halloween.
Candy. Trick-or-treating is possible with a limited number of neighbors who want to participate in Halloween setting up a system that reduces risk. It is not recommended to engage in trick-or-treating with groups of more than a few, socially distanced and mask-wearing children. For families who live in less densely populated areas that may not be a problem. However, for many families in more densely populated communities where the traditional trick-or-treating takes place on packed streets with gaggles of kids running from door-to-door together, it is a challenge to maintain appropriate social distancing and thus it is not recommended at this time. If small groups of neighbors do agree to host trick-or-treating, they need to ensure that all treats are individually wrapped and set out separately, not in a bowl, for children to partake while still keeping their distance. It is recommended that the treat givers keep hand sanitizer close by.
Community. The best available science affirms the importance of keeping our distance from those we are not living with as part of our domestic bubble in order to minimize our risk of exposure to COVID-19. If families or neighbors want to come together to celebrate, it is important they observe local limitations on gatherings and that everyone wears an appropriate face mask at all times.
Six ideas to celebrate Halloween
They can be held with treats tossed to costumed kids standing safely distanced outdoor.
Parents and children can make an outdoor scavenger hunts to find treats. For those who have space, it is possible to participate in such games with the whole family.
‘Spying’ spooky decorations
Parents and caregivers can buy their own candy, get the kids dressed up in their costumes and then ride or walk around town “spying” spooky decorations together with kids getting a piece of candy for each ghost or bat they see.
These can be made for small groups of kids with treat bags as prizes.
Whipping up spooky treats
While many families were busy cooking while sheltering at home, now it is a good time to start it again by whipping up some spooky treats.
One of the most iconic Halloween symbols is Jack-o’-lantern. And there is nothing stopping families from expressing their creativity through the art of pumpkin carving.