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The Fate of Halloween During the Pandemic
Posted 9/23/20 10:15:03 AM by Emily Pazel

What could be scarier than ghosts, goblins and witches? How about a scene where Halloween – a favorite spooky holiday celebrated around the world – is canceled due to a global pandemic sweeping the world. Oh, the horror! But really, what will Halloween look like this year? Will mask coverings be incorporated into our costumes? Will trick or treating be canceled? 

Fortunately, new cases of the novel Coronavirus have dramatically declined in the state of New York, which was once a hot spot for spreading the virus. However, state advisories and guidelines might impact your favorite spooky Halloween events. And it’s not just Halloween that might be impacted as all your typical fall events, such as football, fall festivals, Thanksgiving, etc., might have to be rescheduled or done a little differently this go around.  

New York is taking strides to help its citizens stay healthy while trying to return back to a state of normalcy. The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have joined forces to create travel advisories for individuals traveling from states that are seeing high amounts of COVID-19 cases and requiring a 14-day quarantine from visitors of those states. Schools in the state of New York have been permitted to reopen, however, each school district is required to have a testing and tracing plan in place, and will decide whether classes should be held online or in-person. And, beginning at the end of September, restaurants will be able to have indoor dining available with 25 percent occupancy. 

As the world tries to head towards a path of normalcy, what will that mean for our holidays celebrated this fall? Although things could look different in a few weeks from now, we will take a look at some of the facts that we know so far. 

Is it safe to Trick or Treat?

Is trick or treating canceled this year? Although the state of New York saw thousands of individuals testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this year, new cases have slowly come down. However, this doesn’t mean the virus went away. COVID-19 is around to stay, and the potential to become infected and test positive is still very high as the virus spreads person-to-person and is contagious. 

As we near the middle of September, specific guidelines regarding Halloween and what to expect have not been announced. However, the standard precautions for dealing with COVID-19 are still in place:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before you eat, as well as avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick and try to keep a distance of at least 6 feet to help slow the spread of the virus
  • Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue and discard it in a closed container, as well as clean frequently touched surfaces and objects
  • Try to wear cloth face coverings, which can be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low-cost

With trick or treating being an activity that is typically done outdoors, it may be a little safer for you and your family to participate in rather than going to a large party. However, if you are sick or become sick at any point, the first thing you should do is stay home. If you have a fever, you should stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines. As unfortunate as it may be, you should also keep sick household members away from others, and avoid sharing personal items. Lastly, if you believe that you are someone you know is at high risk for complications, they should talk to their healthcare provider. 

Near the end of July, Governor Cuomo announced that New York was seeing a significant rise of COVID-19 cases among young people, ages 21 to 30 years old. The announcement came as younger people started to gather in groups in public and vacation to states with high rates of cases. The Governor encouraged them to research and learn about the misconceptions of the virus. He also encouraged them to look into the facts that young people can still get seriously sick and even die from the virus, as well as bring it home and inadvertently give it to others. 

With Halloween right around the corner, there is a high chance that we will see an uptick in positive cases as more people go out in public celebrating the holiday. However, sticking to the guidelines that your community leaders set in place should help you and your loved ones feel safer while trying to partake in social events.

Speaking of the holiday season, what else will COVID-19 affect? As we gear up for fall festivals and football season starting back up again, how will these annual revenue-making events affect the economy?

Economic Impacts

When you think about the fall season, what comes to mind? Is it the smell of fresh, warm apple cider or a pumpkin pie baking in the oven? Maybe it’s the taste of a candy apple and the sound of carnival rides coming from your local county fair? For others, the fall season might mean cheering on your favorite football team along with your friends and family. Whatever the case may be, you might see a fairly different fall season this year. And with that, the economy might take a little bit of a hit. 

According to consumer reports, a normal year would see roughly 55 percent of households greeting trick or treaters at their door. However, only 28 percent said they would participate this year, and of those surveyed, just 54 percent said they would plan to spend the same amount on candy as previous years.

Less people trick or treating this year will mean less people buying candy, costumes and decorations that come with celebrating the spooky holiday. On the same level, holding large events, such as fall festivals and football games, will also take another hit, as large gatherings will be limited to certain occupancy rates. Having limited attendance rates, or cancelations altogether, will again drive down revenue rates and cause an impact on the economy. We may, ultimately, see people spending money in different ways this fall, such as purchasing a sport’s streaming package to watch their favorite sports games online or on television. 

So, what will your Halloween look like this year? Will you still try to dress up in your favorite costumes while incorporating a fun, yet effective, mask covering? Or will you play it safe and stay at home, watching your favorite horror flicks with a bowl full of candy corn or buttered popcorn?

While you are deciding what to do this fall, be sure to be on the lookout for announcements from your community leaders or state government on the guidelines for safe practices this Halloween, while also practicing the standard safety precautions for COVID-19. But most importantly, whatever you decide to do, try to make the most out of it and remember that this crazy, pandemic world we are currently living in is only temporary.