As COVID cases fall, Halloween brings more fun and less fear | Lifestyles

PHOENIX (AP) — Witches and warlocks, ghosts and ghouls can breathe a little easier this year: Coronavirus cases in the U.S. are generally on the decline, and trick-or-treaters can feel safer collecting candy.

And while a new poll indicates Halloween participation is rebounding but still short of pre-pandemic levels, an industry trade group says people who are celebrating are driving record-level spooky spending this year.

Sales of candy, costumes and décor are up at least 25% over last year and are predicted to set a new high, between $10 to $11 billion, said Aneisha McMillan, spokeswoman for the trade group Halloween and Costume Association.

“People are really getting the Halloween spirit,” she said.

Though the pandemic is still a worry, outdoor activities like trick-or-treating have gotten the thumbs up from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert, and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts advise people to keep sanitizer and masks handy and continue to steer clear of crowded, poorly ventilated spaces, however.

Angela Montierth of Sandy, Utah, said watching her 4-year-old daughter, Justina, celebrate Halloween this year has been “magical.” The family didn’t do much for the holiday in 2020 besides putting out candy for trick-or-treaters, so this fall they’ve been trying to make up for it.

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