Has the COVID-19 pandemic destroyed Halloween this year? It may have changed how Americans celebrate, but many in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll intend on noting the holiday in some way or another. Two in five say they aren’t celebrating it in any way, but that’s about the same percentage who said that three years ago, in 2017.
About one in five adults will participate in trick or treating this year, including 38% of those with children under 18, either by providing treats for those going from house to house or by going out themselves. But there are other ways of celebrating: one in four will decorate their house for the season — up from 17% three years ago — and 29% claim they will watch scary movies.
Halloween activities appear to be enjoyed more by the young — including younger adults. Those aged 18 to 29 are more likely to do everything associated with Halloween, and only one in five (22%) of them will ignore the holiday.
But COVID-19 remains part of the planning for the day. Nearly half of adults who say they won’t celebrate Halloween this year say it is because of the pandemic. Only 12% cite religious objections. But partisanship affects many opinions about the coronavirus, and it does here as well. More than twice as many Democrats (85%) than Republicans (40%) worry about contracting the virus themselves. A majority of Democrats who are not celebrating Halloween this year blame the virus; 28% of non-participating Republicans say the same.
Those who will participate in trick or treating this year plan on taking some precautions: half will wear a mask and nearly as many will social distance. Four in ten will carry hand sanitizer with them, and a quarter will leave candy out, but not interact with trick or treaters. Only one in five won’t take any precautions.
About half the country is at least somewhat worried about a COVID-19 outbreak caused by Halloween festivities. It’s a concern among those in all regions, but Democrats again are far more worried than Republicans. Three in four Democrats are worried, as are half of Independents, but only 27% of Republicans are worried by the prospect of a Halloween-triggered coronavirus outbreak.
Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 registered voters interviewed online between October 25 - 27, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.1% for the overall sample.