Many traditional Halloween activities are a risk to spreading COVID-19, so here are some suggestions the CDC has stay safe this spooky season.
Nothing in 2020 has been the same – and Halloween won’t be an exception. The spooky holiday is a month away, and already scores of cities have canceled popular events to avoid large gatherings that can contribute to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
24/7 Tempo has reviewed dozens of national and local news sources to compile a list of cities that have called off annual Halloween events.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released holiday guidelines, including for Halloween. Health experts advise people to avoid high-risk activities such as hayrides, traditional trick-or-treating, and indoor costume parties, and instead participate in low-risk activities such as decorating one’s house, having a Halloween costume contest online, and decorating pumpkins outside.
Halloween: Tips to celebrate the holiday safely during the COVID-19 pandemic
Sonic’s Halloween treats: Holiday-inspired dessert drinks with Oreos, M&M’s, and Snickers folded in
Local officials across the country have been working to adjust to the new guidelines by changing community events or canceling them altogether.
In some states, Halloween parades and trick-or-treating events have been canceled due to local gathering limits imposed after a resurgence of new cases of COVID-19. Some cities even tried issuing an outright ban on trick-or-treating because social distancing would be near impossible if hundreds of children took to the streets at the same time.
As of Sept. 28, more than 7.2 million Americans have been infected with the novel coronavirus and over 208,000 have died. In general, the states with the highest infection rates have the highest death rates, with some exceptions – these are the states where the most people have died from COVID-19.
Alabama: The annual Auburn Downtown Trick or Treat event (Photo: Courtesy of City of Auburn, AL – City Government / Facebook)
• Where: Auburn
• Canceled event Downtown Trick or Treat
The annual Auburn Downtown Trick or Treat event, which includes getting one’s face painted, playing games with Auburn University sports teams, and exploring fire trucks, has been canceled this year. Instead, Auburn Parks and Recreation is organizing a drive-thru trick-or-treat on Oct. 30 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Auburn Parks and Recreation Complex.
• Where: Anchorage
• Canceled event Kid’s Halloween Train
The annual Kid’s Halloween Train, which is a 2.5 hour train ride with costumes, craft activities, a magician, Halloween bingo, and a raffle, has been canceled. Other annual Halloween special events around Anchorage are still on.
• Where: Ash Flat
• Canceled event Hallows End Haunted Scare Factory
Several Halloween special events are canceled this year in Arkansas. In addition to Ash Flat not opening the Hallows End Haunted Scare Factory, Booneville is canceling the Scantling Haunted House, which offers a haunted tour for people of all ages.
Huntsville will not open the Expelled Haunted House, which is an abandoned slaughterhouse-turned-popular haunted house, either.
• Where: Anaheim
• Canceled event Disneyland’s Oogie Boogie Bash
No Halloween activities are scheduled to take place in Los Angeles County because of the current health order, which bans all gatherings and events. Door-to-door trick-or-treating is strongly discouraged. However, Halloween movie nights at drive-in theaters as well as Halloween-themed exhibitions at outdoor museums are allowed.
The Oogie Boogie Bash, Disney’s signature Halloween party in Anaheim, was supposed to take place in September and October. The company organized a separate event for both kids and adults, who are encouraged to show up in costume.
The city of Half Moon Bay has canceled the 2020 Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival scheduled for Oct. 17-18. However, the popular 47th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off is still scheduled to take place, but live audience will not be allowed.
• Where: Lakewood
• Canceled event Haunted Trail Adventure
Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Haunted Trail Adventure event has been canceled. Visitors usually explore Creek Lake Park where trails are decorated in ghostly style, have fun playing carnival games, and roast marshmallows.
• Where: Newark
• Canceled event Halloween Parade & Trick or Treat Main Street
At least two Halloween events in Delaware will not be taking place this year. Newark has canceled the Halloween Parade & Trick or Treat Main Street due to safety reasons. The city is working on creating several other smaller events throughout the community to celebrate Halloween.
Dover has canceled the Safe Trick or Treat or Treat event, which is usually attended by more than 1,500 people.
• Where: Orlando
• Canceled event Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights
Several Halloween events in Orlando and West Palm Beach will not take place this year due to COVID-19. Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights and the famous Disneyworld’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party have been canceled.
West Palm Beach canceled its Halloween bash Fright Nights 2020 in South Florida Fairgrounds. The event usually includes dark haunted houses that take place over several weeks in September and October.
• Where: Avondale Estates
• Canceled event Trick or Treating
The annual trick-or-treating event held in the Avondale Estates, where thousands of people gather dressed up as ghosts, superheroes, and other characters, has been canceled due to health concerns. Other holiday special events in the city were canceled as well, including the Labor Day Road Race, the Easter Egg Hunt, and the Fourth of July Parade.
• Where: Athol
• Canceled event Scarywood Haunted Nights
The bad news is that Silverwood Theme Park in Athol has canceled its Scarywood Haunted Nights event for the 2020 season. The good news is that the park will remain open for daytime guests on weekends from Sept. 12 through Oct. 25, weather permitting.
• Where: Highwood
• Canceled event The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest
Chicago has not officially canceled any Halloween events, though city officials are working on a plan to hold events with enhanced health and safety procedures. Several cities across Illinois, however, have canceled Halloween events.
Highwood will not hold the annual Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest (though a smaller event for residents may still take place); Round Lake Beach will not open the Realm of Terror haunted house; and Sleepy Hollow has canceled Halloween in the Hollow.
• Where: Cedar Rapids
• Canceled event NewBo and Czech Village Halloween Parade
The NewBo and Czech Village Halloween Parade was supposed to take place in October, but it has been canceled. A smaller event, which will feature a drive-in movie and costume contests, will take place instead on Oct. 24. Cedar Rapids has also called off the Spooky Station event, held every October at The Play Station.
Elsewhere in Iowa, Oskaloosa has canceled the Main Street Trick or Treat Parade due to COVID-19 concerns, and Council Bluffs has canceled the Harvest Family Night at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum.
• Where: Overland Park
• Canceled event Tim Burton Trivia and Paint Night Ceramic Cafe
The Tim Burton Trivia and Paint Night where fans of the famous director and his movies get to do Halloween crafts and compete in a Tim Burton film trivia will not take place this year. Overland Park will also not hold the Halloween Mad Science & Jam Sesh and Downtown Overland Park Trick or Treating events,
Elsewhere in Kansas, Merriam has canceled the Halloween Happenings event, which usually includes a costume contest and a photo booth, originally scheduled for Oct. 26. Olathe has canceled the Haunted Swamp at the Olathe Community Center.
• Where: Louisville
• Canceled event Halloween Parade
The annual Halloween parade and festival in Louisville has been canceled this year. Another popular event that has also been called off is the Haunted Hike at Creasey Mahan Nature Reserve in Goshen. The event usually features a mile-long Fantasy Kiddie Trail and many trick-or-treat stations.
• Where: New Orleans
• Canceled event Krewe of Boo Parade
New Orleans’ annual Halloween event, the Krewe of Boo parade will not take place this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is the first time the parade, which normally takes place in the French Quarter and Central Business District, is canceled since its beginning in 2007. Other events that have also been called off this Halloween season include a Zombie Run and the Monster Mash.
• Where: Lewiston
• Canceled event Downtown Trick or Treat
Lewsiton’s annual Downtown Trick or Treat has been canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The state has a 100-person limit on outdoor events.
The popular haunted house at the Old Town Hall in China, Maine, has also been nixed. However, an alternative is being planned. A drive-thru Trunk or Treat in the town office parking lot will take place instead.
• Where: Pocomoke City
• Canceled event Trick or Treating
The police department in Pocomoke City has announced that city-sponsored trick-or-treating will not take place this year after reviewing CDC recommendations on gatherings. However, according to police officials, some people will still go out trick-or-treating, in which case residents who don’t wish to participate should keep their front door lights off.
• Where: Salem
• Canceled event All parades
With gathering limits set at no more than 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, some events, including the popular Haunted Happenings Grand Parade, the Kids’ Costume Parade, and the Howl-o-ween pet parade have been canceled.
Springfield, Massachusetts, has issued a trick-or-treating ban, a move that the mayor has called a “no-brainer” in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
• Where: Traverse City
• Canceled event Halloween Walk
The Downtown Traverse City Halloween Walk, which includes both parents and children going out for trick-or-treating in their costumes, will not take place this year. It was scheduled for the morning of Oct. 31.
• Where: Troy
• Canceled event Cuivre River Halloween Spooktacular
The annual Cuivre River Halloween Spooktacular, which was scheduled for Oct. 24, has been canceled. The event usually features trick-or-treating at the campground in Cuivre River state park and campsite decorating contests.
• Where: Omaha
• Canceled event Multiple
Omaha, Nebraska, has canceled several Halloween events, including the Spooktacular at Saddlebrook Community Center, which usually involves storytime, inflatables, and games in the gym. The Omaha Children’s Museum will not open for the Cobweb Castle event. Other canceled activities include Mangelsen’s Witches Tea, Trick-or-Treat in the Forest, and several harvest fests.
• Where: Carson City
• Canceled event Nevada Day Parade
The Nevada Day Parade in Carson City, originally scheduled for Oct. 31, has been canceled, but trick-or-treating will still be allowed. The event will take place on Oct. 30. Carson City will have a Halloween “Ghost Train” this year at Mills Park.
• Where: Laconia
• Canceled event NH Pumpkin Festival
The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival, an annual event in October that thousands of people attend, has been canceled. Organizers said that going forward with the festival was “not socially responsible.”
• Where: Ocean City
• Canceled event Halloween Parade
Halloween parades have been canceled in Ocean City and Toms River. The halloween event in Ocean City was supposed to take place for a 73rd year in a row. Bridgewater has nixed its annual Trick or Treat event, which was supposed to take place at the municipal complex.
• Where: Albuquerque
• Canceled event Multiple
Albuquerque city officials have canceled several Halloween events this year, including Zoo Boo, Halloween in Old Town, and the Albuquerque Fire Rescue Haunted House, as a way to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state. An alternative, Trunk or Treat at Balloon Fiesta Park, is scheduled to take place instead.
• Where: New York City
• Canceled event Greenwich Village Halloween Parade
The popular Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, which draws a crowd of about 50,000 people every year, will not take place this year. It would have been its 47th year.
• Where: Clayton
• Canceled event Clayton Harvest Festival
The Clayton Harvest Festival, the biggest Halloween event in the city where more than 20,000 people gather together to celebrate, will not take place this year. In its stead, the city is planning a smaller event, a Spring Fling Festival from April 21-25, 2021.
Elsewhere in North Carolina, Kill Devils Hills has canceled its OBX Halloween International Film Festival. It has been moved online.
• Where: Moorhead
• Canceled event Haunted Corn Maze
North Dakota will not hold several Halloween events this year. Some of the bigger and popular ones include the Haunted Corn Maze in Moorhead, and Trick-or-Treating at the West Acres mall in Fargo.
• Where: Genoa Township
• Canceled event Trick or Treat Village
The popular Trick or Treat Village in Genoa Township, Ohio, which usually features prizes, free raffles for Township children, balloon art, a haunted house, and a hay maze, will not open this year.
Halloween events are being canceled across the state. Copley Township has canceled Halloween in the Park, though neighborhoods can organize their own trick-or-treats and other celebrations. Fairlawn will not be hosting citywide trick-or-treating either. And Newburgh Heights has banned trick-or-treating on Halloween night, replacing it with a drive-thru event on Oct. 24.
• Where: Eugene
• Canceled event Halloween Coffin Races
The Halloween Coffin Races event, which involves soapbox derby cars racing down a street, was canceled this year. It was supposed to take place for a third year in a row.
• Where: Philadelphia
• Canceled event Halloween events at the Woodlands
The Halloween events at the Woodlands, a 54-acre English garden in western Philadelphia, have been canceled. In Pittsburgh, family-friendly events like Halloween parades have been canceled.
• Where: Yankton
• Canceled event Harvest Halloween
The Harvest Halloween event in Yankton usually involves Halloween-themed games, activities, trick-or-treating, an art market, bands, and a lot of dancing. All of these activities bring a lot of people together, which is why local officials decided to cancel it.
• Where: Blountville
• Canceled event Trunk or Treat Halloween
The Sullivan County sheriff’s office in Blountville has canceled the city’s annual Trunk or Treat Halloween event. With the event drawing thousands of people each year, it couldn’t comply with CDC safety guidelines.
Elsewhere in Tennessee, Franklin has canceled its Pumpkinfest, and Clay County has nixed its Trick or Treat Celina, which was supposed to take place for a seventh year in a row.
• Where: Waxahachie
• Canceled event Screams Halloween Theme Park
Texas, one of the worst affected areas by the coronavirus pandemic, has seen many canceled Halloween events throughout the state. The Screams Halloween Theme Park on Waxahachie will not open for the 2020 holiday season. Trick or Treat at Werewolf Creek in College Station has been canceled, too. The Haunted Hayride in Crowley will not take place. The Halloween Safe Streets in Shenandoah is still scheduled for Oct. 31, though measures will be taken to reduce foot traffic.
• Where: Salt Lake City
• Canceled event Trunk of Treat 2020
The annual Trunk or Treat event in Sugar House Park in Salt Lake City has been canceled. Also in Utah, the annual Howl-O-Ween event that draws people to downtown Park City has been canceled. In Orem, the Tricks and Treats Magic Show at the Scera Center has been canceled.
• Where: St. Johnsbury
• Canceled event Halloween Parade
The annual Halloween parade in St. Johnsbury, an event that normally draws about 3,000 people, has been canceled this year. Local officials are considering alternative ways to mark the holiday, one of which includes handing out Halloween candy in schools.
• Where: Hopewell
• Canceled event Hopewell Haunts celebration
Because of the pandemic, the city of Hopewell, southeast of Richmond, announced on Sept. 24 that it canceled its annual Hopewell Haunts celebration. The city plans to hold the event in 2021.
• Where: Snoqualmie
• Canceled event Halloween Storytelling Train
The Halloween Storytelling Train has been canceled due to statewide reopening restrictions and limits on gatherings. Instead, the Northwest Railway Museum is launching a 90-minute Halloween-decorated train excursion for both children and adults.
• Where: City of Waukesha
• Canceled event Halloween Legends and Lore
The city of Waukesha, which is 18 miles west of Milwaukee, will only allow trick-or-treaters to visit houses with lights on. In the town of Eagle, about 39 miles southwest of Milwaukee, the Halloween Legends and Lore activity, a family-friendly event where people explore the Crossroads Village, has been canceled.
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