COVID19 has disrupted a lot of activities globally. With about 31.09 million cases globally, over 6 million affirmed cases, and 199,510 deaths in the United States, many things have come to a standstill. Businesses have slowed, while others shut down completely, not to forget the deteriorating economy. It’s no doubt that things may never go back to the same again. This includes some recreation services and plays, like the highly anticipated Halloween Season.
Research has shown that about 7% of households will forego regular candy giving and trick-or-treat traditions. The pandemic has also affected the agritourism. Three years ago, the census showed that the farms involved in agritourism earn about $27 million yearly. For decades, the Halloween festival has provided revenues and employed lots of U.S. citizens. With the limitation of Halloween activities, this will change.
The trick-or-treat affair feels different this year. Usually, a time like this would be a busy time for haunted attractions as they put activities in the order in preparation for the fall. However, this is not the case; some destination places have already confirmed that they won’t be holding the Halloween season as usual. Jim Schopf of Field of Screams gives us insights into how the coronavirus has affected the haunted attractions and how they cope with the adverse times.
The field of Screams is among the haunted attractions in Pennsylvania. Schopf and Gene converted their 40-acre farm into the destination of fear. Under normal circumstances, the farm records tens of thousands of attendants. Some activities that draw attention in this particular farm is the Den of Darkness, the Hunted Asylum and the Nocturnal Wasteland walk. However, he anticipates a significant drop this season.
Adapting to the circumstances, the Field of Screams has changed their way of handling activities. First, the customers no longer wait in line to get their tickets. Instead, measures have been put in place to enable online purchases, where the customers have to pick time slots. Secondly, the customers and ghouls won’t have a close interaction as measures to adhere to social distancing are integrated.
The familiar screams and shrills of fear and zombies, which bring the satisfaction of the season’s fever, will be enormously affected. Zombies and ghosts popping up close to the body and neck give a fright that these measures will limit. Hence, Halloween won’t feel like Halloween. Still, various hallowing attractions are trying to innovate activities that will provide perturbation, because, what is Halloween without fear and screams, right?
Other known destinations like Halloween Horror Nights and Terror Behind the Walls have already confirmed there will be no Halloween for them. The latter went ahead to point out on social media that Halloween and social distance is ridiculous. Below are some measures put in place for Halloween Attractions;
- Social distancing.
- Socially distanced hunts.
- Masks are required.
- The horror themes have incorporated hand-washing recommendations and instructions.
- Limited customers per session.
- Online ticket purchases.
- For drive-through experiences, the customers remain in the car throughout the tour.
The social distancing requirement has put designers and operators in a tight spot and has challenged their creativity. How to craft Halloween to make it enjoyable is the big question. Here are some ideas;
- Incorporation of mirrors. Mirrors reverse the direction of an image, and so they can provide an illusion that the character is near the visitors.
- Incorporation of acrylic, also known as plexiglass, they are petroleum-based plastics and operate as effectively as glasses, only lighter. The characters can scare from the other side; this can be effective in an asylum or prison setting.
- Develop effective audios, sounds can create ambiance, and you don’t need actual characters if applied to match a setting.
With various attractions limiting their employees and customers’ contact, some activities are limited and will not be sufficient. Also, silence and suspense have replaced the screams and shrills. Still, this is the time to challenge our imagination and come up with ideas, whether indoors or outdoors, to maintain the Halloween spirit. That aside, for the Halloween maniacs, we have some socially distant halloween attractions, the likes of Field of Screams and Linvilla Orchards. Linvilla is providing some family-friendly activities for the season.