In response to LA County’s latest call for a creative and safe approach to celebrating Halloween, the NCA has issued the following statement:
“There will be regional differences across the country in the way that people choose to celebrate the Halloween season throughout the month of October. Whether this means trick-or-treating, more candy bowl moments at home with family and close friends, or just more time celebrating the season throughout the month of October, one thing is for sure – Halloween is happening. We are pleased that the LA County Health Department reassessed its earlier decision that truly lacked any sort of creativity when it comes to trick-or-treating and Halloween safety."
In LA County, gatherings or parties with non-household members are not permitted even if they are conducted outdoors. Carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, and haunted house attractions are also prohibited this year.
It’s a big candy moment; none is bigger than Halloween and I look forward to seeing the fun, creative, and most importantly, safe ways families and their friends develop new traditions to celebrate the Halloween season this year -- John Downs, president & CEO, NCA
But popular events such as trick-or-treating or trunk-or-treating, where children go from car-to-car instead of door-to-door, while “not recommended”, will be allowed.
“There will be regional differences across the country in the way that people are going to celebrate the Halloween season throughout the month of October,” the NCA’s Carly Schildhaus told the LA Times.
“We’re pleased that the Public Health Department in LA County is reassessing their earlier decision that really lacked creativity when it comes to trick-or-treating and Halloween.”
Creative, fun and safe ways to celebrate the Halloween
In a recent poll conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the NCA, a majority of parents say they feel it's important for kids to celebrate the holiday and plan to find creative, fun and safe ways to celebrate the Halloween season this year.
John Downs, president and CEO of the NCA, said in an exclusive interview with ConfectioneryNews that it has been guided by research and data, and has found that basically people across the country are looking for ways to add some sense of normalcy and joy into their lives again.
After almost seven months of lockdown or stay-at-home orders across the country, Downs said there's an insatiable appetite to celebrate this Halloween tradition with family and friends while balancing fun and enjoyment with safety.
In its efforts to ensure people remain safe, NCA guidelines follow those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It has also listened to advice from leading public health officials including former acting FDA commissioner Dr Stephen Ostroff.
“We are optimistic that Halloween will be will be celebrated in a creative and safe way because moms are really resilient and the research we've got from Millennial moms and young parents say that Halloween 2020 is more important than ever,” said Downs.
“We think that chocolate and candy are going to be front and center as people enjoy the holiday with their favorite treats.”
Boost to the candy industry
Although tempered with a cautious tone throughout the interview, Downs said the NCA is excited about Halloween as it will be a significant boost to the industry that has come at the right time with Christmas still a long way off and the uncertainty of how the pandemic and restrictions will play out during that holiday season.
Preparations from big companies like Mars and Hershey started early this year with Halloween treats hitting the shelves in July in some cases. Downs also noted the innovation taking place in the industry related to digital and ecommerce and social media from NCA members.
“Businesses are getting behind the campaign that they're opening up the streets and it's going to be a safe environment for you to walk around and shop.
“And it's that kind of thing that is encouraging people to get out to enjoy Halloween in a very safe and controlled environment.”
Downs said the NCA knew it would have to take into consideration regional and local situations relating to Halloween celebrations. “Every community is going to celebrate Halloween differently depending on where they are, right, as it relates to their concerns about the virus.”
The NCA’s Halloween Central portal has worked with nutrition professionals and leaders in the public health community, seeking their advice and counsel on how to best support beloved Halloween traditions for both children and adults in their own communities.
“With Halloween Central, we are inspiring parents to get creative as they balance the fun and enjoyment of the Halloween season with the uncertainty that many are experiencing nationwide,” said Downs.
Halloween is a particularly big deal in the United States and is worth over $4bn to the country’s confectionery industry.
“It’s a big candy moment; none is bigger than Halloween and I look forward to seeing the fun, creative, and most importantly, safe ways families and their friends develop new traditions to celebrate the Halloween season this year – and we hope that chocolate and candy will continue to play a part,” said Downs.