Zoom graduations. Birthday party parades. Sidewalk fireworks displays. Around the country, Americans have been extraordinarily creative as we think about how to celebrate special occasions in our daily lives when life is far from normal. It’s no surprise, then, that parents are starting to turn their attention to the Halloween season, as numerous newspapers and other outlets have reported in recent weeks.
At NCA, we’ve been connecting with consumers across the country to better understand how people, especially parents, are approaching the Halloween season this year. As health officials in every state consider safety guidance this fall, we want to share what we’ve learned.
First of all, allow me to take moment to assure you: Halloween is NOT canceled.
Dressing up in costumes is not canceled. Enjoying a favorite treat is not canceled. Fall fun is not canceled.
I’ve been encouraged by how thoughtfully so many communities have been in their planning for Halloween as they explore experiences that comply with state guidelines and encourage safe celebrations. This is very much in line with how consumers have told us they plan to celebrate in 2020. Data gathered last month by Morning Consult found that 63% of adults believe that people will find creative, fun and safe ways to observe time-honored customs associated with Halloween.
It’s no secret that Halloween is going to look very different this year, but that doesn’t mean people will have to sit out the traditions associated with celebrating the Halloween season as long as we apply the same kind of resourcefulness that I have observed over the last five months. In fact, a survey conducted by The Harris Poll revealed that 74% of millennial moms and young parents believe that Halloween is more important than ever this year.
In 2020, every community is going to celebrate differently. Those celebrations will vary based on community safety concerns and local guidance. Even if trick-or-treating is off the table for some, there are still plenty of fun and unique approaches to enjoying the Halloween season in a way that works for all families and keeps them safe – whether that’s having fun from a distance, enjoying Halloween at home or practicing something in between.
Some communities may decide to celebrate Halloween outdoors this year, keeping an adequate distance from friends and neighbors and wearing masks so they can embrace classic Halloween traditions in a way fit for the times. Others will opt to stay home during the 2020 Halloween season, trying out new ideas like Zoom costume parties, Halloween candy scavenger hunts or streaming a favorite Halloween movie.
Besides a strong feeling of family togetherness and connectivity, what will all of these celebrations have in common? Treats, of course! According to The Harris Poll’s research, an overwhelming majority of respondents say they can’t imagine Halloween without chocolate and candy and trick-or-treating is irreplaceable – that includes 80% of the general public and 90% of millennial moms and young parents. And, according to an independent survey from Insight to Action, 70% of moms plan to celebrate the Halloween season with their children this year.
Treats like chocolate and candy have kept us connected throughout this unusual time, even when we couldn’t be together. We expect that these treats will play an important role in connecting us at Halloween as well, even when those celebrations look a little different. We know the spirit of Halloween will remain strong among families as they seek to bring some fun to the fall.
What is most important is that families celebrate Halloween in a way that makes them feel safe and comfortable and is in line with recommendations from health authorities. Even as we approach Halloween a little differently this year, we can create a new normal together around celebrating a safe and fun Halloween and keeping longstanding Halloween traditions alive. This year, it may help to start thinking about Halloween as a month-long celebration rather than just one night of trick-or-treating.
To that end, we are providing helpful tips for this Halloween and candy moments throughout the year on AlwaysATreat.com. AlwaysATreat.com/HalloweenCentral has easy tricks to help people navigate the Halloween season safely while preserving the fun associated with the holiday.
Americans need something to look forward to right now. Halloween presents a perfect opportunity to reconnect with our treasured family customs and establish some new traditions. I know that right now many people are asking themselves, “Will Halloween be canceled?” To the contrary, I answer: Halloween is happening – and our creative celebrations are just getting started!