While Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials have essentially called for the cancellation of Halloween amid coronavirus concerns, Halloween decorations, costumes and candy continue to be seen in stores across the Santa Clarita Valley.
Door-to-door trick-or-treating and trunk-or-treating are “not recommended” by Public Health officials, but with stay-at-home orders still in place, many believe this year will be a year where the decoration industry will prosper, as residents have nothing to do but decorate their homes.
That’s exactly the case for Ingrid Stephenson, who always goes all out for Halloween. This year, she said she plans to go even further.
“Everyone is in need of a little fun, and Halloween is just that — spooky fun,” the 52-year-old Valencia resident said, chuckling. “It’s a day each of my grandkids look forward to every year, and this year is no different, COVID or not.”
Stephenson’s grandkids don’t plan on trick-or-treating as usual this year. Instead, she said they plan to around, as they would at Christmas, to see the Halloween decor.
“I’m going to make sure they have something special to look at,” she added.
Barn & Charm in Newhall has yet to see many Halloween-specific decor sales, according to owner Carol Reesha, but fall decor, primarily pumpkins, have been flying off the shelves.
The shop began preparing for the fall season quite early this year, starting to put out fall decor at the end of July.
“Anything fall is blowing out the door,” Reesha said. “When we put out the pumpkins late July, the customers loved it. It was so funny, one customer made a comment, and said, ‘Oh, pumpkins! There’s really something to look forward to.’”
For Reesha’s customers, fall meant moving on from the endless summer of quarantining, she said.
“We have a couple of customers that even asked when we’re going to start bringing Christmas in,” she added. “Usually, we try to let one holiday go by, but I think we’ll probably end up bringing in Christmas earlier this year. I think because everybody can’t get out, they want their home to be festive and feel good.”
Since reopening, the shop has begun to offer its craft workshops in a limited capacity, with the velvet pumpkin and pumpkin succulent workshops in high demand.
“I can’t list the workshops quick enough,” Reesha said. “The customers are great at telling us what they would like to do and see, so we’re letting them direct us a lot of it.”
At Saugus Drugs, decorations are just starting to be put on the shelves, as Halloween has gotten off to a slow start, according to General Manager Karlet Vazquez.
“In regards to Halloween, let me tell you it’s not starting off the same as last year,” Vazquez said. “By now, we would have all inventory ready for display; however, our vendors are running behind schedule.”
As with many of the industries affected by the pandemic, shipping is taking longer than expected, while some items are just unavailable for purchase this year.
While the store has already begun displaying what’s arrived, Vazquez said customers seem to be holding back on early buys for this year’s Halloween.
“We don’t have costumes displayed, yet — and to be honest, no one is asking for them,” she added. “We are really hopeful things will pick up in a few weeks, maybe even by the end of October, with last-minute purchases, (but) I truly just think people want to play it safe.”
Most customers have been sticking to pharmacy pickups, personal protective equipment-related purchases or post office drop-offs, according to Vazquez.
“Halloween is just on standby right now, (but) let’s hope people begin to realize we can still enjoy what’s left of the year by stepping into the holidays in a safe and cautious way, but not afraid,” she added.