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How New Yorkers Spent Their Halloween in a Pandemic

Normally we’re worried our costume isn’t as sexy with our jackets…this year it was our masks. Here’s a little peak into how New Yorkers spent their Halloween during the pandemic.

Halloween is not a holiday the city takes lightly. From an annual Halloween parade since the 70s, packed bars themed with spooky cocktails, and streets lined with those dressed in costume (though that might seem like just an average day in New York), New Yorkers had to participate in rather alternative ways to celebrate this year. 

Amid a worldwide pandemic, parties were cancelled, traditional trick-or-treating was put on pause across the country, and costumes were left hanging on the shelf in hopes to see next year’s 31st. And though COVID-19 continues to rampage it’s way through all aspects of our lives, can you believe it has almost officially been half-a-year, that didn’t halt New Yorkers in their quest to party on what should have been the spookiest day of 2020.

Neighborhood Decorations

Neighborhoods all throughout the five boroughs made a statement with their astonishing and most over-the-top decorations. Simply walking around the streets you could still feel the spirit leading up to Halloween.


From Candy Shoots to Crazy Costumes

Though trick-or-treating was most definitely not the same as previous years, nearly 40 states made some type of ban/restriction, thus, makeshift candy shoots were as inescapable as your secret agent’s ads on your Facebook feed. People took to their creative sides and tried their hands at DIY. Some shoots came disguised as ghoulish monsters like snakes delivering candy, safe and socially distant into the basket of kids looking for a sugar rush. This was just one example how when left with little to work with, the true creators are able to find their way around a problem to a solution. 

Creativity definitely wasn’t lacking in the costume department this year either. Costume shops in New York are normally as fun and long of a line to get into as the bars. This year stores still faced success even at their limited capacity. For those who were so last minute they couldn’t even make the one-day prime order cut-off, they relied on their closets and these shops to put together a costume at the last hour. New Yorkers were seen dressed as important figures from 2020 ranging from Dr. Fauci, Governor Cuomo, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to still the scariest of them all, New York’s Naked Cowboy (still playing in Times Square during the pandemic). And though celebrations were limited to smaller circles this year, New Yorkers weren’t afraid to share their costume creations across social media for an even broader, virtual celebration.


Haunted Houses

As for activities, haunted houses remained open in the New York City area. Haunted Houses increased safety regulations in order to comply with CDC guidelines and they still experienced crowds to scare for those who dared to enter. One perk of still doing this thrilling activity in 2020, was at least this year, your mandatory mask could be used to shield your eyes from the horror around you when you got too scared!


Spooky Sipping

Notorious for their wide-ranging bars covering the most niche of interests, New York City’s very own Beetle House, the spookiest, most over the top, Tim Burton themed bar the city has to offer, opened just in time before Halloween. This bar offers fare of the more unappealing sound such as boogie’s braised bacon or frankenfries, though the taste and cocktails are sure to deliver a terrifyingly enjoyable experience–not to mention a drunk that will have you thinking the worn-out, hot, skinny dude next to you is Jack Skellington himself!


Village Parade

Though the annual village parade that normally draws thousands of dressed up New Yorkers, first beginning in 1973, was cancelled, the organizers didn’t leave their city empty handed. The regular spider on the Jefferson Market Tower made its iconic return and for the first time ever, New York’s Village Halloween Parade put out their first ever mini film titled “Doubled Magnificent Intergalactic MINIATURE Halloween Parade.” The film featured a 13-minute, intentional on the time we must wonder, display of puppets participating in a miniature version of the annual parade! Times Square also joined in on the efforts and gave spotlight to participants of past parades as its many billboards lit up with enlarged visuals of the costumed New Yorkers from previous years. 

Rooftop Concert

Among socially distanced parties, some rooftops in Brooklyn didn’t let the pandemic dampen their spirits as artists joined together to put on socially distanced performances. Fully equipped with drums, bass, guitar, a microphone, and of course dressed in costume, this pop-up concert played on a Clinton Hall brownstone brought strangers together across rooftops of the neighborhood to celebrate music under the very rare blue moon that showed on Halloween night. Neighbors cheered and roared as they enjoyed some of the first live music they had heard since March!


A Night In

And if New Yorkers didn’t partake in socially distance parties, mini rooftop concerts, festively themed bars, or those who dressed up and stalked around Washington Square, they joined a ton of other city goers for a splendid night in with themselves and company of the likes of Edward Scissorhands, and a big ol’ bag of candied with an even bigger bottle of wine. What is clear to see, is that New Yorkers know how to celebrate no matter the circumstances.

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