Halloween 2020: Will We Be Ghosted?


Victoria Mavarez

In the midst of a pandemic, Halloween 2020 may look very different from previous years.

Mia Cabrera, Staff Writer

Halloween has been the topic of discussion recently, with many debating whether or not it should be celebrated. As the holiday season nears, so does the one year mark of the first reported Covid-19 case. Although the case numbers are steadily decreasing, Covid-19 remains a prevalent issue, scaring many people to the point of rethinking their October plans.

Like many other festivities that have been canceled due to the virus, several Halloween celebrations have already been called off all over the country. Worried about the threat large gatherings would pose, New York officials have decided to cancel their annual Halloween parade. Other cities such as Salem, Chicago, Laconia and Arlington have also all decided to call off some of their most popular events, including pumpkin festivals, haunted houses and mazes.

Although some main events have been canceled, city officials have modified other activities to give their residents some resemblance of a Halloween celebration. Multiple cities have changed their Trick-or-Treat trails to a drive-thru method. In Pinellas Park, Tampa, baskets filled with candy will be given out to those participating in their drive-thru event in order to prevent grabbing candy from a communal container. However, many events are still on standby, waiting for a closer date to get official word on whether or not they will happen.

Theme parks are also grappling the decision of how to handle their fall events. Both Universal and Walt Disney parks have canceled their wildly popular attractions Halloween Horror Nights and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Usually attracting over 40 thousand attendees a night, this was a huge decision for the companies that has left fans immensely disappointed.

Other theme parks such as Busch Gardens and Six Flags have avoided cancelations, instead reconstructing their Halloween events to accommodate safety precautions in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream has eliminated its indoor haunted houses, leaving only outdoor scare-zones and limiting their guest capacity by selling less tickets than usual.

A recent survey conducted by the National Confectioners Association has shown that 74 percent of moms believe that this year is one of the most important Halloweens for their children to celebrate, as these times of uncertainty have gone on too long and might have negative effects on them. Other surveys done by the NCA and Insight to Action have shown that the majority of respondents are planning on celebrating this year no matter what it takes. Parents are struggling to plan an approach to this year’s celebrations, doing everything they can to make it as normal as possible while still adhering to safety guidelines.

Several commercial areas, such as in Punta Gorda, Fla., are set on closing down their streets for the night, giving out candy and providing games and prizes. Some are forming small groups to go trick-or-treating together, while others plan their Halloween Zoom parties.

“Honestly, I don’t think I will be celebrating Halloween this year, mostly to prevent myself from getting the virus. I don’t think it should be canceled, but it should be limited, like the amount of people out and a curfew, of some sort, to stop it from spreading faster,” sophomore Matteo Rocha-Chaves said.

Not only has the virus impacted Halloween happenings, but other economic aspects such as decoration, candy and costume sales have been affected as well. Retailers began putting out their Halloween themed items earlier than ever, preparing for their possible loss in candy sales this year, since not as many people are expected to still leave out treats this year. 4.6 billion dollars of confection sales are generated from the Halloween season. However, both Hershey and Ferrero representatives have stated that they are not worried and believe the sales will be just fine.

Despite state officials advising against trick-or-treating, so far, no states have officially cancelled the holiday. Los Angeles, Calif. had banned trick-or-treating altogether, but later rescinded the ban while still emphasizing its concerns about the night. Other officials have come out to say that they believe trick-or-treating can be done safely, as long as it stays outdoors and people continue to social distance while still wearing masks. Governor Cuomo of New York has stated he will not be banning trick-or-treating, and several other leaders have found themselves doing the same.

“I feel that Halloween shouldn’t be canceled altogether, as there are still other ways it can be celebrated in a Covid-friendly way. This year I will not be celebrating Halloween as I typically would have. If I do celebrate it, it will be something small with a close friend or my family,” sophomore Sofia Rodriguez said.

Between health officials, however, there seems to be some conflicting ideas. Some experts have expressed beliefs that trick-or-treating may not be the wisest idea. A health officer in Contra Costa County has recommended families skip trick-or-treating this year, and has been backed up by state level health officials in California. There are some health advisors who have said they do not think Halloween will be an issue, though. A professor of medicine at the University of California has claimed that banning trick-or-treating is an overreaction. Several health officials have recommended wearing costumes that already require masks and placing tape on porches to promote social distancing.

Although nothing is too certain as of yet, it seems like this Halloween may not be as different as might have been expected. Officials do not appear to be too worried about the holiday, only advising those who do go out to be safe, take precautions and do everything they can to prevent another spike in cases. Less than two months away and its fate undecided, Halloween’s only certainty is that there will be way more masks than ever before.

Will you be celebrating Halloween this year?

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