Halloween is just six weeks away, but the pandemic is causing quite a scare for the Halloween industry.
In a new survey, three out of four people say COVID is changing their Halloween plans.
The National Retail Federation says fewer people are going to parties or taking the kids trick-or-treating. But millions still plan to celebrate in safe ways. 53% are decorating their homes, 46% will carve a pumpkin, and 17% will take part in virtual gatherings.
Overall consumer spending for the holiday is expected to be down the year, with COVID scaring many people away from Halloween celebrations.
Younger adults are more likely to buy a costume and continue with Halloween plans. The report also says people are shopping earlier this year. Many have extra time on their hands because of the pandemic.
Halloween store owner Kevin Pohle says this year’s shopping experience is different.
“We can’t have them try it on at the store, we’re gonna to give them time to try it on at home and exchange it within three days,” he says, “We’re gonna try to avoid all personal interaction with a lot of the stuff, especially like wigs and masks and stuff where you’re touching your face or touching your head.”
It’s one of the largest Halloween celebrations in the country, but this year Salem, Massachusetts – home of the 17th century witch trials – is canceling the annual Halloween parade and other festivities because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kate Fox is executive director of Destination Salem.
“That’s gonna be a huge loss because so many people were looking forward to it,” she says, “And the fact that it’s a Saturday, Halloween, people have been booking that for years.”
Around the country, communities are shutting down large gatherings, and several cities are deciding what to do about trick-or-treating. Los Angeles is recommending against it but stopped short of a ban.