Consumers finding new ways to safely celebrate Halloween

MENASHA — While Halloween might look different this year, Americans are planning to celebrate and find ways to safely mark the fall holiday.

According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, more than 148 million U.S. adults plan to participate in Halloween-related activities.

“Consumers continue to place importance on celebrating our traditional holidays, even if by untraditional standards,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers are prepared to meet the increased demand for seasonal décor, costumes and other items that allow families the opportunity to observe Halloween safely.”

There is still plenty of fun to be had by following health and safety precautions and getting creative. We encourage you to check with your local government office to determine if there are specific safety guidelines around Halloween before planning events.

Here are some celebration ideas:

  • Rather than having kids come to your front door, set up a decorated table in the front yard and hand out individual bags or cups of candy to keep contact to a minimum.
  • Host a neighborhood trunk-or-treat and pass out candy. Consider having designated adults who have washed their hands and commit to applying hand sanitizer give out the candy rather than encourage hands to reach inside the bowl.
  • Host a themed virtual Halloween costume party.
  • Throw a Halloween parade so costume wearers can show off their look. Or coordinate with your neighborhood and hold a reverse trick-or-treating drive-by parade where people in the vehicle throw candy at kids in costumes in their yards, much like birthday parades.
  • Plan a party for those in your bubble, including immediate family or close friends you have socially engaged with during lightened restrictions. Keep invitees to a minimum and hold outdoors or in the garage and wear masks.

Overall Halloween spending is estimated to be $8.05 billion, according to the NRF. Forty-six percent plan to dress in costume this year compared with 47% in 2019. Here’s what is expected to be popular this Halloween.

  • Top costumes for kids: princess, Spider-Man, superhero, ghost, Batman, witch, vampire, “Frozen” movie characters, pumpkin and cat.
  • Top costumes for adults: Witch, vampire, cat, Batman, ghost, pirate, zombie, nurse, princess and doctor.
  • Costume choices often are influenced by what we see on TV or social media. This year what’s trending is “Tiger King”-, “Masked Singer”- and Broadway musical “Hamilton”-themed costumes.
  • Every year pop culture impacts what’s hot. Unicorns, which have been big the past two Halloweens, will be out in force again this year. Our increased time at home this year also is influencing our costume choices, with couch potato, nurse and doctor being popular picks.
  • Pets: Dressing our pets has become a big part of our Halloween fun, and 18% of pet owners plan to dress their pets in costume. Not only does Goodwill have pet-specific costumes but that onesies, tutus, jerseys and other accessories also can be used to dress your dog or cat. Popular pet costumes this year will be pumpkin, hot dog, superhero and cat.

Since 1971, Goodwill NCW has served as the Original Halloween Headquarters.

  • Score secondhand costumes that are ready to wear or create your own unique look that frights or delights.
  • Find new and ready-made accessories, masks, makeup, wigs and other fun items to complete your costume.
  • Not only do you get a one-of-a-kind look with our donated treasures or ready-to-wear costumes, you also are helping your local community by providing job training and opportunities to people with barriers to employment.

About Goodwill: Goodwill NCW is a nonprofit human services organization whose mission is Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin. The organization includes 27 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, human services programs, unique shopping experiences at its boutiques and Appleton outlet store, plus online shopping at Goodwill NCW is a Platinum Level member of, the world’s largest source of nonprofit organization information. Visit

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