Photograph: Shutterstock

What will Halloween look like this year?

Halloween is not canceled, but it does look a little different in 2020. Here's how to celebrate and what to expect.


Undoubtedly scarier than any witch or ghoul is the uncertainty surrounding the spookiest time of the year. Come October, we’re meant to revel in macabre festivities. However, state and federal restrictions have us questioning what Halloween will look like in 2020. 

We’re happy to say, oddly enough, fear not: The holiday is far from canceled, but it does look a little different this year.


Expect summer’s drive-in trend to continue

stranger things drive-thru
Courtesy: Netflix

The past several months have forced many vendors to rethink the type of experiences they offer, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the party has to shut down. In fact, we’re seeing a summer trend continue well into the fall: the drive-in. 

“I’ve seen just in the market in general other people explore vehicle-based experiences,” said Kevin Madden, the project manager for LA’s Stranger Things Drive Into Experience. 

Beginning in October, Angelenos can transport themselves to Hawkins and the Starcourt Mall circa 1985—without actually getting out of the car. (Tickets are currently on sale starting at $59.) Likewise, those on the East Coast can hop in their cars for a headless horseman-themed drive-thru (tickets start at $39.95) beginning October 2 and those in the Midwest can have nightmares for days (by choice) by attending the Music Box’s drive-in horror movie marathon ($30 per car, $40 per car for a double feature) starting next month.

Outdoor activities are a go...with adjustments

six flags HALLOWFEST
Photograph: Courtesty Six Flags

But if you’re not terribly inclined to drive (we’re looking at you, New Yorkers), you can take a look at outdoor activities in your area. In most locations, including the Empire State, apple picking, corn mazes and other festivals are underway but operating with restrictions such as timed tickets, mask requirements and social distancing. 

"We want New Yorkers to be able to enjoy this time with their family responsibly and safely," Governor Cuomo said during a press briefing in early September. 

As a result, the highly-anticipated traditions in NYC, including The Amazing Maize Maze at the Queens County Farm Museum and The Bronx Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo, are underway. Nearby in New Jersey, Six Flags Great Adventure reimagined its Halloween experience for 2020 with HALLOWFEST. Likewise, the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in the Hudson Valley, which expertly displays 7,000+ hand carved jack o’lanterns, is anxious to kick things off responsibly.

“We’re inherently suited for this type of environment,'' said Rob Schweitzer, the VP of communication and commerce at the Historic Hudson Valley, which puts on the Blaze. “[It’s] outdoors, touch-free, not in your face and more of an art installation that you wander through.”

Anything immersive, however, has raised red flags. Haunted houses are not able to operate in certain states and those crazy clowns chasing tour groups with chainsaws are most likely restricted. (A sigh of relief for the faint of heart.)

Trick-or-treating is up in the air 

trick or treating
Photograph: Shutterstock

The main question, however, is “Will there be trick or treating?” Well, it depends. Certain states like California have prohibited the October 31 tradition whereas New Yorkers will be able to take their kids door-to-door, provided they follow a certain set of guidelines from the state. 

If you’re not too keen on a candy hunt this year, bring the fun inside: Dress up with the kiddos and feast on your favorite sweets, or bring an Easter egg-type of tradition to Halloween. Why not? 2020 has no rules: We give you permission to blend holidays.

When all else fails, virtual scares will be there

winchester mystery house
Photograph: Courtesy Winchester

When all else fails, you can count on the internet for a few shrieks: Visit the nation’s most haunted attractions like the Winchester Mystery House and Eastern State Penitentiary right from your couch and stream your favorite Halloween movies for a fun night in. 

Halloween—we look forward to seeing you soon. Our costumes are ready.

Plan a fall-themed getaway

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