For more than a decade, the National Retail Federation (NRF) has conducted an annual Halloween survey to find out how Americans will celebrate the holiday. It is no surprise that with the safety guidelines recommended for a safe Halloween, this year will be different.
The NRF said more than 148 million U.S. adults plan to participate in Halloween-related activities. Among those celebrants, safe at-home activities ranked the highest, with 53 percent planning to decorate their homes and 18 percent to dress up a pet. However, Halloween spending is down by about 8 percent, due to a decrease in costume sales.
With virtual costume contests planned – like the one planned by the Timbergrove Manor Neighborhood Association where residents will post their photos to Instagram or Facebook before Oct. 30 – and others planning to stroll the streets or hang out in their yards with neighbors and friends, there are plenty of adults dressing up.
As expected, the pandemic features large in some people’s costumes. Beth Barron is dressing as a plague doctor and Sally Walden is going as a survivor of 2020. Jenni Ferrell said she will be a grouchy mother of three teenagers during COVID-19 – costume not required. Angela Kay and her co-workers are going as 2020 itself – Kay is the toilet paper hoarder.
Marilyn Christensen said her school special education team is required to wear masks and gloves all day and in some cases gowns. So, they are making the best of it.
“We are going as the CDA contamination group from (Pixar’s) Monsters Inc.,” she said.
Notably, fashion retailer Yandy, who is not afraid to make a sexy costume of just about anything, says sexy COVID costumes are off limits.
“I don’t think there’s anything sexy about it,” Yandy’s vice president of merchandising, Pilar Quintana-Williams, said in a recent Business Insider interview.
In the tried-and-true category, there are plenty of entries. Kimberly Flynn might be a pirate. Brandi Hamilton will be Wonder Woman and Irene Arango will dress as a witch.
Yvette Mackedatosh and her husband are going as Frankenstein’s monster and his bride. Seth Higgins will be Michael Meyers. Courtney Stein and her dog, Zealand, will be wearing matching unicorn costumes. In the not-quite-so-common category, Nora Heene said she will be a festive pinata.
“My husband and I are going as breakfast,” Andrea Catalano said. “He’s an egg and I’m a waffle.”
Jennifer Massey will transform herself into Pennywise, the clown from movie It.
“Makeup and hair will be done by Primp and Blow on 34th and Ella,” Massey said.
Popular culture is informing many costumes for this Halloween. Carrie Schadle is dressing as Dr. Clara Mandrake from Schitt’s Creek. Laura Holt will be Eliza Schuyler from Hamilton. And Ashley Cassel is paying homage to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Julia Hayes says she will be Cara Dune and her husband will be the Mandalorian.
“(I) couldn’t get the kid to agree to being Baby Yoda even though ‘this is the way,’ ” she said.
Then there are the people who are using what they already have to create Halloween magic. Amber Ambrose will be Aang from The Last Airbender.
“I’m getting as much out of this shaved-head phase as I can,” she said.
Family costumes are big for those with the littles.
“We are dressing up in a family theme, Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” Renee Blaize said. “I’m praying for cooler weather because the bear costumes are plush and warm.”
Emily Garcia said she might go as the other half of her son’s costume.
“He keeps changing his mind as he suddenly remembers that dressing up with your mom is embarrassing,” she said.
Lauren Hafner’s family is going as The Wiggles. Krystal Galatian will be Luna Girl from PJ Masks at request of her daughter, who is going as Owlette.
Sometimes, you just don’t know what you want to be until a social media ad tells you.
“I’m going to be a Magic 8 Ball because I saw the costume in a Facebook-targeted ad and I couldn’t not order it,” she said.