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4 ways the pandemic will drastically change how families celebrate Halloween this year

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09/21/2020 09:41 AM
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4 ways the pandemic will drastically change how families celebrate Halloween this year
[link to www.businessinsider.com (secure)]

Halloween is supposed to be the scariest holiday on the calendar in the US, filled with both ghostly frights and sweet trick-or-treating delights. But 2020 is not like most years. The coronavirus pandemic is still wreaking havoc across the country, meaning that fears over new outbreaks will likely dampen many traditional Halloween activities this year.

And consumers are taking notice, while planning accordingly. A survey from market intelligence firm Numerator found that 73% of respondents "expect their Halloween celebrations to be different this year."

What exactly will Halloween look like during a global pandemic? Here are a few trends to watch out for:

The holiday shopping season appears to begin earlier every year. And in 2020, consumers would have likely noticed Halloween displays starting to pop up back in August.

That's no accident. With the US still stuck in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic and the days blurring together for stuck-at-home consumers, retailers have an incentive to be aggressive about holiday sales, starting with Halloween.

The Hershey Company even teamed up with supermarket chain Alberton's to create candy-centric displays in stores in August. By bumping up the holiday shopping season two-to-four weeks, the company is looking to drive chocolate demand for its savory sweets.

With the coronavirus pandemic still raging, the question of whether trick-or-treating is a risk worth taking is top-of-mind for many parents.

As a result, there is less interest in participating in the trick-or-treating tradition in 2020. According to a recent National Retail Federation survey, 62% of respondents plan to hand out candy this year, down from 69% in 2019. And only 23% plan to go trick-or-treating, down from 29% last Halloween.

Even among those who do dare to venture out, contact-free or stay-at-home options will likely be in vogue this year.

Writing for Business Insider, epidemiologist Dr. Syra Madad said she planned to treat her kids to a stay-at-home "candy hunt" to reduce risk.

And companies are taking notice, too. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Hershey Company has launched a Halloween safety guide. Meanwhile, candy startup Zolli Candy is working with Christmas tree company Treetopia to set up "candy trees" for touchless trick-or-treating.

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