Will COVID-19 Cancel Halloween This Year?

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COVID-19 has upended people’s health, the economy, and soon – possibly – the holidays.

Halloween may be on the chopping block for fall 2020. Communities across Massachusetts are starting to have conversations about how best to accommodate the holiday – if it will be celebrated at all.

Already Salem has canceled a host of Halloween-related activities including the Kids’ Costume Parade, outdoor food vending, the Salem Food Truck Festival, and the Mayor’s Night Out. The community, which was the site of the Salem Witch Trials, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each October.

Other bigtime Halloween attractions, including Disney’s theme parks, have also announced early on that they would cancel a normal array of spooky October activities.

Not everyone is deterred, however. The hugely popular Monster Mash Haunted Hayride at McCray’s Farm in South Hadley has pledged to find a way to work with town officials to create a safe and scary experience. The farm plans to hitch up the haywagon for Halloween-themed rides starting Oct. 3.

The farm has had to repeatedly remind people that it will be providing the annual haunted hayrides.

“YES, we will be doing everything possible to keep customers and staff safe,” the owners said in a Facebook post. “YES, we are looking forward to seeing all of you for scares in October.”

Some towns are starting to plan “safe” trick-or-treating opportunities for the community. Hyannis will close Main Street the afternoon of Oct. 31 for a socially-distant trick-or-treating event.

Massachusetts has previously shown a willingness to reschedule the holiday. In 2019, the prediction of heavy storms caused many communities to outright cancel or reschedule trick-or-treating for another night. 

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