Don't expect many trick-or-treaters this Halloween, survey finds

Thanks to COVID-19, most ghosts, ghouls, and goblins will be celebrating Halloween at home this year.

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Research suggests there will be a big drop in trick-or-treating this Halloween, as many people will be following COVID-19 recommendations.

The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago surveyed a little over 1,000 people across the country, and found that just 12-percent of households plan on trick-or-treating, down from 24-percent last year.

And of those who do plan to go out and seek candy may not be very successful, as only 25-percent of families plan to hand out candy this year, down from 38-percent last year.

Additionally, since the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many schools switching to remote learning this year, 36-percent of parents of school-age children said their child will not have a school-based Halloween party.

“Halloween has long been the highlight of the school year for children and it is a way that schools engage and build ties with parents,” Jennifer Hamilton, NORC’s vice president of education and child development, said in a press release. “The loss of a costume parade or a classroom party with spooky snacks is one more sign of the sad reality that 2020 has brought. Missing out on Halloween festivities is a reminder of the role that schools play in our kids’ rituals and traditions and the disruption that COVID-19 continues to have in the United States.”

More than two in five parents, or 41-percent, said their children are disappointed or angry about the change in Halloween plans this year.

And it is not just kids who are more scared of the pandemic than Halloween this year. Only 15-percent of adults plan to attend a party this year, down from 37-percent from last year.

Overall, the survey found there is a 32 percent increase in people who will not celebrate Halloween compared to 2019. Those who will celebrate plan to carve pumpkins and watch scary movies.

“In many places, Halloween is a community event that brings together friends, family, schools, and neighbors,” said Shazia Miller, senior vice president of NORC’s Education and Child Development department. “Like many things in 2020, COVID-19 will disrupt this cultural celebration and represents another loss of community during the pandemic.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating as a higher risk activity and said that even socially distanced trick-or-treating carries moderate risk.

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