CM – When the COVID cases fall, Halloween will be more fun and less fearful

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Coronavirus cases are declining in most parts of the nation, giving many Americans a fear-free Halloween. The transmission rate in Mohave County remains high, with new cases increasing in the past two weeks. (Photo of the miners file)

PHOENIX – Witches and warlocks, ghosts and ghouls can breathe a little easier this year: Coronavirus cases in the US are falling, and trick-or-treaters can feel safer collecting candy.

And While a new poll suggests Halloween turnout is recovering but still not at pre-pandemic levels, an industrial trade group says people who party are driving spooky spending at record levels this year.

Candy, costume and decoration sales are up at least 25% year over year and are expected to hit a new high of between $ 10 billion and $ 11 billion, said Aneisha McMillan, spokeswoman for the Halloween and Costume Association trade group.

Though the pandemic is still a problem, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading infectious disease expert, and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, got the thumbs up for outdoor activities like trick-or-treating. However, experts advise people to keep disinfectants and masks on hand and continue to stay away from crowded, poorly ventilated rooms.

Angela Montherth, of Sandy, Utah, said it was « magical » watching her 4-year-old daughter Justina how she celebrated Halloween this year. The family didn’t do much for the 2020 vacation other than hand out candy for a trick or treating, so they tried to make up for that this fall.

« We made a pumpkin patch and we had a little Halloween get-together in our home with other young children, « said Montierth at a trick-or-treat event at the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum in nearby Salt Lake City. « At this age they have to play with other children and they need the socialization aspect. »

A new survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 35% of Americans plan to hand out candy this Halloween, up from 42% in pre-pandemic 2019 – but still higher than the 25% mark found in a separate NORC survey in 2020.

Meanwhile, 16% said they intend to sweeten their children with sweets or treat a treat, compared to 25% in 2019 and 12% last year.

Among those skipping the door knock this year is Rolando Cadillo from Phoenix, whose family has a 15-year-old daughter and a 4 year old son belong. Last year they decided to have a pandemic-proof Halloween at home and stopped handing out candy. This year they store the sweet things but keep the face masks on.

Cadillo’s son is going to dress up as Spider-Man but won’t be trick or treating, and he’s not sure if his daughter will go out with her friends « We plan to stay home, but we’re going to give candy to the kids knocking on the door, » said Cadillo as the family left a Halloween Spirit costume store. “I think it’s better than last year. More people were vaccinated. ”

Nearly 191 million people in the United States are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, approximately 58% of the population. The country is on the verge of expanding its vaccination efforts to children ages 5-11, but this will not happen until after Halloween until final approval from the CDC is in.

Last year came Halloween when the cases started a deadly winter wave across the country rose to about 81,000 a day. Many parades, parties and haunted houses have been canceled due to bans on large gatherings and concerns that celebrations would spread the coronavirus. Others went on, but with pandemic folds and sometimes with a nod to the nation’s penchant for turning to fear as entertainment in times of turmoil 73,000 new cases per day compared to 173,000 in mid-September.

There are still concerns, especially if rural hospitals are still tense. Also in the Phoenix area, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community has banned Halloween activities after a 140% increase in cases.

But in places where infection rates are lower, many people are ready for Halloween falling on a weekend and extending the festivities.

Google search trends show that classic costumes are still selling hot, with witches, rabbits and dinosaurs taking the top spot. More modern outfits inspired by the South Korean Netflix smash « Squid Game » and « WandaVision, » the hit Marvel series, are also popular, McMillan said. There are even a couple of topical offerings, like a couples costume made up of a vaccine and a syringe, she said.

But the buzz also means there have been some costume shortages too, which is related to the insecurity of retailers when placing orders is due to the supply chain problems that weigh on many parts of the economy.

“A lot of people get really creative because they can’t find the unique costumes they wanted. They do group or couple costumes so they can somehow combine things and bring things together, ”said McMillan.

Some trends have shifted since last year, with fewer people opting for first responder and superhero costumes and more for pop culture and turn to nostalgia.

« This is an absolute favorite holiday for millennials, and they’re notoriously nostalgic, » said McMillan. “We’re all locked up for so long. … I think it’s going to be the biggest celebration ever. ”

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