halloween 2020 covid

COVID-19 is forcing Toronto stores to scale back on Halloween this year

While it may only be August, people are already talking about how the COVID-19 pandemic is probably going to ruin Halloween. 

"Halloween is going to be way less fun if we’re constantly saying, 'Don’t touch your face. Sanitize your hands. Don’t touch your mask. Don’t eat that candy,'" pediatrician Dr. Dina Kulik told CTVNews.ca in an interview.

Many people are planning to just skip the holiday alltogether. 

"As excited my kids get for Halloween, I personally get excited seeing them healthy every day so we won’t be going out," wrote one mom on Twitter.

"This will be my first year not enjoying the greatest time of year, it's got me upset," tweeted another user.

In the U.S., nearly three-quarters of respondents to a poll said they had no plans to take their kids door-to-door this year.

And in response to the wake of mass speculation that coronavirus is going to cancel Halloween this year, retail stores are cutting back. 

"We were planning on going big this year in terms of what we order for Halloween since it falls on a Saturday (but) we have cancelled all of our Halloween orders that we placed in January and we are relying on our old stock from past years," Ashley Windebank, It's My Party general manager, told blogTO in an email.

Candy's Costume Shop has taken a similar approach. 

"Anything I did order, I cancelled and we're bringing in a very limited amount (of new stock)," said Geoff Waszek, owner of Candy's Costume Shop. 

He told blogTO that he's been sourcing fun face masks to go with costumes as a way to bolster the business, but he says it's been a struggle to drum up sales. 

"It's hard when everything you sell is socially related. The only thing I've been selling is face masks. If I don't have a good Halloween I will have to close but we have no idea what it's going to be like," he said.  

"We're hoping for a half-decent Halloween  but I would be happy for a Halloween at this point."

And it's not just costume sales that are going to suffer. As Windebank explained, Halloween is also huge for bars, clubs and restaurants.

"For us that means lots of balloons, decorations, and props. Due to COVID we are not expecting the same volume in those areas," she said. 

Not to mention haunted houses, pumpkin patches and amusment park events, like Canada's Wonderland Halloween Haunt, will also lose out on their usual spike in revenue.  

"My suggestion is to have Halloween at home. Watch some scary movies, dress up in a costume, have a dance party with your bubble buddies, and decorate your home inside and out," said Windebank. 

And for all the doom and gloom, most people are planning to do just that, or something else creative to keep the Halloween spirit alive. 

People have been suggesting contactless pick up for candy as well as virtual Halloween parties. 

"Everyone I think is gonna need a little fun in their lives. I believe Halloween is going to happen but I don't know how or how much," said Waszek.  

So while traditional trick-or-treating might not be a possibility this year, Halloween revelers are sure to get creative and find a way to celebrate. 

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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