The world is already a scary place, what with covid-19 still doing the rounds. And with scores of Halloween 2020 events facing the chop, it looks like fans of the commercial holiday will be all dressed up with nowhere to go. Does this really mean RIP Halloween 2020?

From the cancellation of scream parks to the end of historical tours and maize mazes, thanks to covid-19, Halloween fans are in for a scary amount of disappointment. And to make matters worse, the cursed holiday not only falls on a Saturday this year, but under a full moon.

But perhaps, with fewer restrictions, there is some light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Photo by Ingmar on Which major events have been axed?

Cancelled high profile Halloween events include Universal Studios’ classic movie-themed Horror Nights event, along with Dark Harbour – the haunted event from retired cruise liner, The Queen Mary – and California theme park Knott’s Berry Farm’s ‘Halloween Haunt’.

While pandemic requirements vary across regions, there are limitations on gatherings, with slightly more give for outdoor events.

Events held in downtown witch capital Salem, a huge draw for Halloween tourists, will either be cancelled or scaled-back, officials have said. Walking tours, museums and retailers still may be able to profit but large-scale functions such as the Salem Halloween parade, street fair and food truck fair will be off the Halloween 2020 menu.

In the UK, Whitby’s Goth Weekend is looking increasingly unlikely, and this year’s Tomorrow’s Ghost Festival, held at Dracula’s favourite UK town, has been axed.

If all this isn’t bad news enough, John Carpenter’s eagerly awaited ‘Halloween Kills’ set for release shortly before the seasonal holiday, has been moved to Halloween 2021 due to covid-19 concerns. The film is the follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Halloween reboot in 2018, featuring the film’s original protagonist Jamie Lee Curtis.

Trick or Treat?

A US survey showed 74 per cent of parents would be looking at ways to celebrate Halloween with their kids this year. Additionally many have admitted they will not be handing out candy for hopeful trick or treaters. For those who plan to do so, advice includes putting out bowls of individually wrapped candy at the end of the drive, and to assign areas or streets to certain groups of trick or treaters.

In the UK seasonal Halloween sales bring food retailers around £430 million. But, for Halloween 2020, retailers are predicted to accrue losses across categories including costumes, decorations and confectionary.

However others remain hopeful, that with fewer restrictions compared to commercial holidays like Easter, Halloween will bring light relief after lock-down misery.

Photo by Łukasz Nieścioruk …

As it falls on a Saturday, it is hoped some small gatherings at least, will be the norm across households. With this in mind, companies are planning to push popular confectionery and drinks brands rather than specifically target the Halloween market.

Virtual Halloween events 2020

Digital brands are among those hoping to cash in on families looking to make their Halloween pandemic-proof. As lock-down saw a rise in social and hashtag challenges, digital creatives are looking to work with brands to blend challenges and products. One example is Jelly Belly’s BeanBoozled Flaming Five Challenge, an app challenging players to a game of Russian roulette with chilli-flavoured sweets – perfect for a virtual party game.

Photo by Analia Baggiano o…

Other virtual ideas, courtesy of Houston Halloween blogger Miranda, include horror movie charades, virtual costume competitions, a Halloween-themed lip-synch battle and pumpkin carving contests.

Micro parties

If you’re a fan of a good-old fashioned makeshift Halloween, with homemade decorations, crafts, games, and ghoulish treats, a micro-party could be the answer. And with the outdoors a key component of 2020 events, if the weather is good, why not host a Halloween bonfire in the garden, or an al fresco movie night? Instead of trick or treating, perhaps choose a designated family member or close friend to swap a homemade Halloween treat with.

For adults, innovative solution could include pumpkin beer tasting or other autumnal tipples. Horror movies, I need not remind you, are also your friend for this occasion.

Halloween events in 2020 may not be all doom and gloom – but with a bit of creative thinking hopefully they can be!

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