What Does Covid-19 Mean for Halloween Sales?

What Does Covid-19 Mean for Halloween Sales?

Can Saturday night and a blue moon save a Covid Halloween?

This year, Halloween falls on a Saturday with a rare full blue moon, historically the recipe for a lucrative Halloween. Pre-pandemic, Halloween 2020 was expected to produce one of the largest spending seasons ever. But here in Minnesota, the state Department of Health told families in late September that trick-or-treating was too risky in the Covid pandemic. Advice like that has caused the National Retail Federation to estimate that 24 million fewer adults will participate in the holiday this year.

Jim Berg, owner of Twin Cities Magic & Costume Co., isn’t spooked, but admits, “Covid is putting a damper on things.” He rethought inventory for his shop, which has been in St. Paul for 34 years and is one of the last costume shops in the Twin Cities, to cater to 2020 needs, adding character face masks. He still expects a strong holiday.

“Part of the Halloween industry is being creative,” says Matt Dunn, owner of Chaska seasonal attractions Scream Town and The Abandoned Hayride. This year, instead of piling folks together on a cart, he and his team have put together a Covid-safe drive-in attraction. For Scream Town’s walk-through section, he’s taking extra precautions, such as making it entirely outdoors, requiring guests to mask up, and keeping customers in small groups. Dunn also won’t offer as many tickets for sale this year to keep people distanced.

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow may be candy sales. Dan Lagermeier, CEO of Pearson’s Candy, says Pearson’s has already seen a year-over-year double-digit increase in bite-size, individually wrapped sweets. “With all of the uncertainty and stress,” he says, “I think people are embracing traditions like Halloween.”

This story appears in the Oct./Nov. 2020 issue with the title “Full Moon Challenge.”