Photo Story: Halloween in times of pandemic

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A series of photos of how Halloween is being celebrated around the world. Many countries have prohibited mass gatherings for this celebration, so some have adapted to the times.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised against traditional American Halloween activities that are considered “high risk” for COVID-19 infection, including haunted houses, hayrides with anyone not in your household and “direct contact with trick-or-treaters.”

A volunteer gives candies to children trick-or-treating by car during a Halloween drive-thru trick-or-treat event organized by the various city services during the coronavirus pandemic at Highland Park in Monterey Park, California, USA. EPA-EFE/ETIENNE LAURENT

In the U.S., the sales of costumes and candy have not entirely evaporated into thin air. Spending on decorations, costumes and other festive purchase is expected to reach $8.05 billion this year, down only slightly from $8.8 billion in 2019, the National Retail Federation said.

Halloween candy sales already are up 8.6% over last year, said the National Confectioners Association.

People wearing protective masks due to coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic walk past a cafe decorated for Halloween celebration in Kiev, Ukraine. EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

COVID-19 has itself inspired some ripped-from-the-headlines costumes, including a giant container of hand sanitizer and a spiked coronavirus mask.

Prairie dogs in Amersfoort Zoo are playing with a pumpkin, in Amersfoort, The Netherlands, . The zoo organized the surprise meal as part of Halloween celebrations. EPA-EFE/Piroschka van de Wouw

Halloween, celebrated on Oct. 31, dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain when people would try to ward off ghosts. Some of the traditions of the festival were incorporated into Catholic vigils such as All Hallows’ Eve.

A man sells Halloween decorations at a shop in Hanoi, Vietnam. Halloween celebrations, which are held annually on 31 October in many countries, became popular in Vietnam’s major cities. EPA-EFE/LUONG THAI LINH

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