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Halloween is a major US holiday. While it may be largely for children, students of any age and even adults have joined in the celebration, Halloween is typically responsible for huge revenues. According to Bloomberg, in 2019 that was $8 billion. In early Oct. 2020, press account from Washington, DC to Boston report there is little demand for Halloween costumes. In 2020, with a lockdown or travel restrictions in many places, it does not look like there will be as much fun surrounding October 31st.
Halloween dates to ancient times, largely thought to have originated among the Celts. In the 7th century, Halloween or “All Hallows’ Eve” was moved to Nov.1 (For a great overview, see “What is the Real History of Halloween and Why Do We Celebrate it on October 31st?”)
Starting weeks earlier, outdoor decorations are even more popular than Christmas reindeer. In recent years, ghosts have been joined by skeletons including the family dog. One “cheeky” household had a handsomely dressed pair with the wife decked out in what would have done Coco Chanel proud.
Here in Washington, DC, there have been long-standing local “customs”. First, by mid-afternoon, a steady stream of students all the way through high school and college circulate through Embassy Row. (From my personal observation, cat costumes have largely led the pack.) When Al Gore was Vice-President, trick-or-treaters were allowed to stop by the Vice-Presidential Residence farther up Mass. Ave. After sundown, Georgetown comes alive with a crush of costumed partygoers.
When travel was easy, we recommended top destinations from New Orleans with its spooky above-ground cemeteries and Transylvania, Romania.
In light of continuing travel restrictions, Halloween will largely be an opportunity in 2020 for a creative staycation.
Here are our five thoughts:
- Video costume contest: Have a competition for children, adults or even families for best costume via Zoom/Skype.
- Pet parade: Hold an outdoor socially distanced (with masks) parade featuring best dressed pets.
- Self-guided ghost tour: Create your own walking tour of your home town in the path of local ghosts’ legends. (In DC, that could start at Lafayette Square subject to certain security restrictions.)
- Bake-off: Swap recipes with your favorite neighbor.
- Volunteer: Check out online opportunities to send Halloween greetings to hospitals, nursing homes, deployed military and others who might enjoy ecards or even your own art work