Halloween stores concerned about sales as events are canceled due to COVID-19


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Several Halloween events have been canceled this year due to COVID-19 and Halloween stores were concerned about what this could mean for businesses this year.

News Channel 11’s Kristen Gallant spoke with local Halloween stores about costumes and decoration sales along with parents who weren’t quite sure about celebrating the holiday.

Masks are taking on a different meaning this year as we continue to deal with COVID-19.

“I think everything’s a little scary this year but you just got to learn to roll with what’s going on,” said Marsha Norman, who was shopping at Halloween Express in Johnson City Saturday morning. “You can’t stop your life completely.”

Many traditional Halloween activities are being considered high-risk for spreading the coronavirus, according to the CDC.

“I have a high-risk grandparent I’m caring for at home, and I would hate to bring something back to her,” said Valerie Hyatt who was shopping with Norman.

“I have a father with COPD,” said Norman. “So the thought of taking something to him it’s just too scary.”

Many trick-or-treating events in the Tri-Cities have been canceled, and Halloween stores across the region were worried about what this could mean for business.

“We’re a seasonal store,” said Halloween Express employee, Chris Carter. “We open roughly middle to the end of August. We stay open until the first week of November.”

At first, employees at Halloween Express weren’t seeing a lot of customers, but the closer it gets to Halloween, the more business seems to pick up.

“This year it seems to be doing pretty good,” said Carter. “It’s actually shocking. We didn’t know if it would do as good with all the COVID situation going on, but it’s actually doing really well.”

Some families are taking a different approach from traditional trick-or-treating and celebrating at home.

“We’re having a birthday party, a Halloween-themed birthday party for my daughter and my son,” said Hyatt. “It’s just family, thankfully, so we know where they’ve been and who they’ve been around, and it’s a very small group of us — we wouldn’t have a lot of people together for sure.” 

This also has an effect on what people are buying in the stores.

“I’ve seen a lot more people wanting to do family costumes,” explains Carter.

Store employees said they’re not sure how this years sales and COVID-19 will affect years to come, but customers say they’re ready to focus on a different kind of mask even if it’s just for Halloween Day.

“The fun, the dressing up, being able to dress ways you can’t any other time,” said Norman. “It’s just fun to dress up and be somebody else for the night and it’s fun with the kids especially.”

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