WORLD It's still trick or treat, but keep your distance this Halloween


It's still trick or treat, but keep your distance this Halloween

China Daily

12:06, October 29, 2020

Visitors sit by a wooden jack-o-lanterns installation during the "Halloween at Descanso" event at Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge, California, US, Oct 9, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)

CINCINNATI, Ohio-Dropping candy down a chute for little costumed Baby Sharks, Mulans and Black Panthers. Flinging full-size candy bars to them via mini-catapults, Game of Thrones style, or with decorated slingshots.

Scattering candy at social distances across the front yard, placing it in Easter egg containers. A church near Cincinnati is offering hand treats to drive-by families. And in San Francisco, a haunted house has become a haunted drive-thru.

A favorite US festivity is being tested by the pandemic. And people are rising to the challenge for trick-or-treating that's both safe and fun.

"I've always loved Halloween. This has been a rough year for everyone," Carol McCarthy, of Palmyra, New Jersey, said of the festival on Oct 31.

"I'm going a little more over the top than usual. There's something about this year that I have to try a little harder to keep the magic going."

She's not the only one.

The National Retail Federation's surveys indicate Halloween spending and participation will be down a little this year, projecting spending of $8.05 billion after $8.78 billion spent last year.

"Consumers continue to place importance on celebrating our traditional holidays, even if by untraditional standards," federation CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

McCarthy said she will make sure trick-or-treaters and their parents feel safe. Her husband, Tom, took some PVC pipe to make a chute of about 210 centimeters. She plans to use a spray bottle of alcohol to regularly disinfect the chute's end and she's going to offer a safety message while dressed as a pirate.

In her Columbus, Ohio, neighborhood, Julie Schirmer has been practicing with her candy slingshot.

"It breaks my heart to think that all that fun may not be well-advised this year," she said. "So I was thinking about it and trying to be creative."

Full-size bars

Instead of the usual bags of miniature candy bars for trick-or-treaters, she is stocking up on a variety of full-size bars, so children will feel like they've "hit the mother lode".

Schirmer will don a black witch's cape and hat, with a mask, for the festivities. Her slingshot is outfitted with a creepy, old doll's head and orange ribbons with black spider webs.

Usually, she and her neighbors gather inside for Halloween for a potluck dinner and wine.

This year, she plans a front-yard fire pit with socially distanced seating.

While some haunted attractions aren't open this year, others have tried new approaches.

The"'Pirates of Emerson" haunted house in the San Francisco Bay Area has become a drive-thru this year.

Visitors used to creep through narrow hallways while ghosts and goblins jumped out in close quarters.

Now, the spook show is watched from inside visitors' vehicles as they wind their way through a route dotted with ominous shadows and creepy characters.

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