Consumers and retailers figure out how to do Halloween safely

Consumers and merchants plan to find ways to have a safe and fun Halloween this year.

While total spending is expected to be down because of the lack of group celebrations and large events due to coronavirus concerns, those who plan to celebrate expect to spend on average $92.12, up from $86.27 in 2019, according to research conducted by the National Retail Federation. Celebrating consumers say they will spend slightly more on home decorations, candy and greeting cards, the NRF survey showed.

With proper precautions, Alabamians can participate in safe ways in traditional Halloween activities, said Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the Infectious Diseases Division at UAB and a board member for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

She suggests cloth face coverings instead of costume masks for both trick-or-treaters and candy givers, socially distancing and providing candy in a non-contact manner such as placing it on a table. “We can figure out how we can do Halloween safely,” Marrazzo said.

>> Have a Safe Halloween (Alabama Department of Public Health)

Socially Distanced Celebrations
With some hesitant to participate in traditional trick-or-treating, businesses and cities are offering alternative festivities for families. Drive-by events are planned in several Alabama cities.

Outdoor, roadside merchants also have gotten creative. In Clanton, Durbin Farms has a Pick of the Patch photo booth to document your pumpkin selection while Peach Park has a fire pit and s’mores bar.

One of the scarecrows at SweetCreek Farm Market in Pike Road.

SweetCreek Farm Market in Pike Road will offer a Scarecrows at the Creek Scarecrow Contest throughout the month of October. “It’s a fun people’s choice contest where people can stop by, get a ticket and use it to vote for their favorite scarecrow,” said owner Reed Ingram. “They can vote every day for their favorite scarecrow if they want, it’s just a fun activity.”

Pumpkin Festival at SweetCreek will be the third and fourth weekends of October.

Not only is SweetCreek offering a month-long celebration, its annual Pumpkin Festival will occur with a few alterations, including mask wearing and social distancing.

Since we can’t social distance on the hayride to our new farm that we had last year, everything will be on site,” Reed said of the celebrations happening on the weekends of Oct. 17-18 and 24-25

This year the festivals are completely free for the entire family,” Ingram said. “We know people have been through hardships this year.

How Consumers Plan to Celebrate Halloween
Of those participating in Halloween, three-quarters say COVID-19 is changing their celebration method, with 17 percent saying they plan to celebrate virtually. Safe at-home activity options rank at the top of the celebration methods with decorating at 53%, pumpkin carving at 46% and dressing pets at 18%. Traditional Halloween activities such as handing out candy and dressing in costume are still popular choices.

>> NRF Halloween Celebration Choices Survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics

The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,300 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.

Katie Brown | 210.315.8496
Nancy King Dennis | 334.551.0643 | 334.868.2195 (c)| 800.239.5423

Originally posted at 12:08 p.m. Oct. 4.