Trick or treating numbers set to fall by 66% this year thanks to coronavirus

Jamie BallardData Journalist
October 30, 2020, 7:00 PM UTC

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many aspects of daily life, including the time-honored tradition of going door-to-door asking for candy on Halloween.  
Data from a YouGov poll of 8,888 US adults finds that about one in nine (11%) Americans will be taking a child or children trick-or-treating to other homes as part of Halloween this year. Slightly more (14%) say that they would normally do so, but are skipping the trick-or-treating tradition this year because of coronavirus. Another 7% say that they won’t be taking any children around the neighborhood for reasons unrelated to the pandemic. 

This implies that in a normal year one in three Americans (32%) would be taking a miniature monster around the neighborhood. The fact that just 11% still intend to do so represents a 66% reduction in participation. 

But kids going door-to-door this year may not gather as many treats as they’d like. Only about one-quarter (23%) of Americans say they plan to pass out candy this year. Roughly one in five (19%) say that they would normally do so if it weren’t for the pandemic, while 8% say they typically would, but won’t be doing so this year for other reasons. 

Again, this implies that were 2020 a normal year half of Americans (50%) would be providing candy for costumed callers. The fact that only 23% still intend to do so represents a 54% reduction in participation. 

Men (26%) are more likely than women (19%) to say that they plan to pass out treats to children on Halloween this year. By 14% to 9%, they’re also more likely to say that they plan to take a child/children trick-or-treating to other homes this year.  

Methodology: 8,888 US adults were asked “Will you be giving treats to children trick-or-treating at your home as part of Halloween this year?” and “Will you be taking a child/children trick-or-treating to other homes as part of Halloween this year?” Interviews were conducted online October 27 – 28, 2020. Results have been weighted to be representative of the US population.   

Image: Getty