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What Happens to Halloween This Year?


Chances are, you're already sick of wearing a mask -- but what about that one day a year where you can wear that special mask -- Halloween?

Like most things these days, there's uncertainty surrounding the holiday, for which Americans traditionally go wild. Last year, in fact, the National Retail Federation predicted Halloween sales would top $8.8 billion, with $3.2 billion on costumes, $2.6 billion on candy for trick or treating, $2.7 billion on decorations, and nearly $400 on greeting cards.

This year, however, is another story. Between the very real and frightening spectre of COVID-19, coupled with the record-breaking economic damage, experts in related industries, from costumes to candy, are bracing themselves.

It's "the holiday that comes second after Christmas as far as spending goes," Tom Arnold, a professor of finance at the Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond tells the Los Angeles Times. "I don't think it would be wrong to predict that spending gets cut in half, at a minimum."

Major annual celebrations at Universal Studios Hollywood and Disneyland already announced their Halloween parties are cancelled, as has the annual Dark Harbor Halloween event aboard The Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. Last year, the paper notes, it attracted some 140,000 wannabe ghosts and goblins.

Gone, too, will be the usual Halloween maze or haunted house set-up, which can't accommodate social distancing.

And of course there's Halloween's really sticky wicket: going door to door to collect candy from strangers.

The Los Angeles Times notes that Melissa Poole, Hershey's vice president of investor relations, told investors, "If trick-or-treat tends to be a little lower than expectation, clearly, we will focus even more on the 'treat for me' and the candy bowl."

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