Skip to content

News & Insight

Are we in for a Virtual Holiday Season?

The holidays are quickly approaching, and with them the ever-present uncertainty brought on by a global pandemic. A strong desire to see the friends and family is prevalent now more than ever. But most are still cautious regarding what this coming fall and winter may bring and if we should consider a virtual holiday season. Traditions like trick-or-treating and traveling to visit family are all up for debate. We’ve all been discussing the different ways Covid has changed our world, but today we’ll be specifically covering what you can expect for this holiday season, and how to best prepare.

To Trick-or-Treat… or to Not?

Many children and adults alike eagerly anticipate the spooky holiday season each year. This year, excitement was at an all-time high since the frightful night finally lands on a Saturday. But health experts are questioning the safety of trick-or-treating this year. As if ghosts and ghouls weren’t enough, we now have additional precautions to consider. Some cities, like Los Angeles, have already banned trick-or-treating activities for October 31st. And theme parks like Disney World have also cancelled their Halloween celebrations. In those localities that are permitting trick-or-treating, standard Covid guidelines will apply. Think things like mask-wearing (but not your standard spooky mask!), hand sanitizing, and social distancing.

via Andrew Beattie and Buzzfeed News

If you will be venturing out in costume this year, health experts recommend that you talk to your children about safe practices before going out. Ensure that masks and gloves can be worn with costumes. And, if you’re planning to distribute candy to eager trick-or-treaters, experts also recommend that you leave it on your doorstep to limit contact. One Halloween-loving father has even invented a candy-chute of sorts to pass out delicious treats this year.

Traveling for the Holidays

Another big question on everyone’s minds is what will traveling look like for Thanksgiving and Christmas? Generally, less people are expected to travel via air this year, opting for staycations or destinations within driving distance.

However, travel confidence is increasing. So, while not as many people as usual will be hopping on flights, we can still expect some to take to the skies. In the past, holiday travelers have booked flights as early as 6 months in advance. Now, people are waiting to see how the pandemic will shift before spending money on flights to visit family and friends. That said, many airlines have dramatically dropped prices, about 25%, and have eliminated change fees in an effort to incentivize travelers and offer more flexibility.

Airlines are also implementing extensive safety precautions, like full-time mask use and leaving middle seats open, to limit the spread of the virus and to give passengers peace of mind while traveling.

The Financial Reality

Of course, we can’t ignore the financial loss these industries are facing. For retailers and tourism-dependent locales, fewer people going out on Halloween or attending themed events marks a significant monetary blow.

In fact, some businesses were expecting October 31st to be one of the biggest-ever for tourism—one study even predicted that American consumers would spend more than $8 billion on Halloween this year—since it falls on a Saturday night and is also the end of daylight saving time. However, the drastic reduction in those venturing out for some haunted fun could spell disaster for places like Salem, MA, and Sleepy Hollow, NY, who have built entire industries on the holiday.

But many consumers seem to be optimistic about what the holiday holds. It sounds like they still want to celebrate Halloween; one study shows 63% of Americans believe that people will find “creative, fun, and safe ways to celebrate Halloween this year.

The financial state of the airline industry is looking a bit dicey, too. At its lowest point in April, passenger demand had dropped 94.3%. Data also shows that the industry is facing a $419 billion loss in airline passenger revenue and a global loss of $84 billion in 2020.

But, as mentioned earlier, travel confidence is steadily increasing in Americans. One study from early June noted that 1 in 5 Americans were already traveling via air or had no hesitations about flying. So, while revenue is still comparatively low, airlines can adopt a somewhat optimistic outlook for the remainder of the year.

A Cautious (Pandemic-Approved) Optimism

Overall, we can expect some normal practices for this coming Holiday season. But trick-or-treaters and travelers should all prepare for traditional activities to at least include Covid safety guidelines. Financially, things are looking up and businesses can start to plan for recovery. If there’s one thing that is for sure in the midst of all this uncertainty, it’s that Covid is here to stay (at least for a while) and we must all adapt our behaviors and expectations to the new normal.