Updated Sept. 9, 2020
As October 31 creeps closer by the day, the idea of a Halloween canceled due to the novel coronavirus is becoming a very real possibility. Of course, many people are decrying the idea that this could happen. After all, the holiday is still over a month away. As COVID-19 cases continue to climb, though, there are indications that Halloween may be called off.
Halloween Taking a Hit
Will we see trick-or-treaters roaming neighborhoods on Halloween night? What about Facebook photos of sexy vampiresses taking shots at parties? That answer is still up in the air. This will likely depend on the extent of the virus in specific areas when the best night of the year finally arrives. In many ways, though, a Halloween canceled by the pandemic is already occurring.
(Update) News reports on Sept. 8 stated that Los Angeles County has created restrictions that amount to a canceled Halloween. There will be no trick-or-treating, “truck or treating,” haunted houses, festivals, live entertainment or parties allowed.
We reported back in July that Universal Studios Hollywood made the difficult choice of canceling Halloween Horror Nights. This event is so popular that it increased the theme park’s revenue by 30 percent. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only hit that the real “most wonderful time of the year” would take. Knott’s Scary Farm, Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort and The Queen Mary ocean liner all canceled their Halloween events as well.
These weren’t off-the-cuff decisions made by overly cautious administrators. The fact that the events aren’t happening paints the very real picture of a Halloween canceled before October. When the historic and haunted Queen Mary converts into terrifying mazes, for instance, the attraction brings in over 140,000 visitors.
Half the yearly revenue of Knott’s Berry Farm also comes from its “Scary” event, and its parent company has already lost 8 million visitors. These companies wouldn’t shut down such huge opportunities for revenue unless doing so was essential.
No matter how we look at it, a Halloween canceled by coronavirus is already a reality in some respects. These events take months to prepare, so even the discovery of a miraculous cure to COVID-19 may not be enough to bring some of our favorite attractions back from the dead.
A Halloween Canceled is a Halloween Crippled
One of the scariest realities of a potentially canceled Halloween isn’t the fact that we’ll miss one night of excitement in 2020. Unfortunately, a year down the drain could have long-term effects that echo into the coming years. Tom Arnold – a finance professor at the University of Richmond’s business school – painted a very bleak picture:
“[Halloween is] the holiday that comes second after Christmas as far as spending goes. I don’t think it would be wrong to predict that spending gets cut in half, at a minimum.”
For a holiday that amassed $8.8 billion in spending in 2019 among Americans, that’s a huge loss. Dark Horizon in Orlando and Freakling Bros. in Las Vegas have also shuttered their doors. St. Charles Haunted House in Michigan and the Pittsford Haunted House in Vermont joined the chorus of Halloween cancellations as well.
For companies or events that garner a large part of their revenue from this holiday, this loss could prove disastrous. While Universal or Knott’s Berry Farm may be able to survive the hit, smaller haunts may not be so lucky. Most garner 100 percent of their revenue in the weeks surrounding the scary holiday. This means they’ll find it difficult to recover from a Halloween canceled right when they need it the most.
Are Parties or Trick-or-Treating Canceled?
Many people can face the idea of Halloween without theme parks and their favorite haunts, but what if the government cancels trick-or-treating or the ability to throw parties? Businesses and bars are already receiving fines and shut down orders for refusing to comply with COVID-related orders. People also face thousands of dollars in fines for hosting parties during the pandemic.
And what about trick-or-treaters? Could the activity that gave many of us our favorite childhood memories fall victim to a Halloween canceled? The answer is “it depends.” While it was bad enough when one city barred anyone over the age of 12 from trick-or-treating in 2019, the reality is that everyone may have to stay home this Halloween. A statement from Salem, Mass., though, provides a glimmer of hope:
“Neither October nor Halloween can be cancelled, but they will look different this year as we move through the fall season while navigating the coronavirus crisis. Currently, there are no plans to cancel or alter neighborhood trick-or-treating for families.”
Unfortunately, this may be more wishful thinking than anything else. Halloween will certainly always live in our hearts, but whether or not municipalities allow parties and trick-or-treating will likely depend on state and local ordinances. Some communities may find it safe for these events to take place due to low infection rates. Any areas where the virus is out of control, however, will likely see serious restrictions on their Halloween activities.
Currently, the best bet of avoiding a Halloween canceled is for everyone to wear a mask and practice proper social distancing. Tom Savini created a pretty awesome mask that could help make you look cooler in this endeavor, but even your run-of-the-mill surgical mask can help reduce transmission. There are a ton of people out there who hate the idea of following this public health guideline, but at this point, it could be the only way to save Halloween.
What if Halloween is Canceled?
For most of us, all we can really do is wait. Oh, and wear masks. The likelihood that trick-or-treating and other Halloween events will go on as normal, though? It’s a quickly fading dream. Many of our favorite events are already canceled, and unless something drastic happens before October 31, a ban on large gatherings in the majority of America will likely still exist.
In order to bring a little joy to the life of iHorror fans, though, we’re hosting a costume and decorating contest for our followers. The winners of this contest will snag a massive Halloween prize pack. We’ll post full rules later, but entrants will need to utilize the iHorror logo somewhere in their image to enter. We’re also offering other Halloween contests for those who sign up as an iHorror supporter.
A Halloween canceled due to COVID-19 might be unavoidable at this point, but no trick-or-treating bans or party ordinances can take away the true meaning of the night. It’s our time to shine, and even if we have to do it from home, rest assured that we’ll be working hard to make sure 2020 is a Halloween to remember! Tell us your plans for All Hallows’ Eve in the comments!