Halloween Celebrations Being Impacted By COVID-19 Pandemic

Nevin Barich

Nevin Barich

October 29, 2020

I started putting up Halloween decorations last weekend. To be honest, it was a bit bittersweet. Normally, I love putting up these decorations because for me it signifies the official start of the holiday season. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. It’s the trifecta of happiness. A joyous time of family, friends, cooler weather, football, laughter and delicious food.

But over the weekend, I couldn’t help but feel a bit melancholy. Halloween, and for that matter the holiday season, will be muted this year. We won’t be taking our 2-year-old son trick-or-treating this year. We simply don’t want to risk the lack of social distancing during the current coronavirus pandemic. And we won’t be passing candy out to kids, either. We’re just going to leave a bowl of candy out for them. Again: we want to keep contact to a minimum. Yes, we will be dressing up our son (my wife got him the cutest Elmo costume) and we’ll do a little Halloween thing at the house where we’ll place candy for him to find all around the backyard. But it won’t be the same.

A recent report by the National Retail Federation acknowledged that I’m just one of many who will be changing or eliminating plans this Halloween. According to the report, more than three-quarters say the virus is impacting their celebration plans, with overall participation down to 58%. Plans for parties, trick-or-treating, handing out candy and visiting haunted houses have all dropped, due largely to the fact that some activities do not easily adhere to social distancing. And all of this is affecting the amount of money being shelled out for Oct. 31. Consumer spending is expected to reach $8.05 billion, down slightly from $8.78 billion in 2019, due to the drop in participation.

It also should be no surprise that among those who are celebrating this Halloween, stay-at-home activities ranked highest among the planned activities. Fifty-three percent plan to decorate their homes, 46% plan to carve a pumpkin and 18% will dress up their pet.

Hopefully by this time next year, things will be different. A vaccine for COVID-19 will be in place, normal life will have returned and Halloween can be celebrated without fear of sickness or infection. But for now, better safe than sorry. The virus is making Halloween a little bit spookier this year.

Nevin Barich is the Consumer Products Analyst for Industry Intelligence, which can help YOU better address your own industry challenges. To arm yourself with the latest market intelligence, contact ClientCare@IndustryIntel.com. Ask us about our interactive intelligence map and search bot on Microsoft Teams.

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