Halloween plans change as COVID-19 pandemic surges forward

The giant Halloween Express pumpkin at Wisconsin State Fair Park is a Milwaukee-area, seasonal landmark.

Not only is it a sign of the season -- the signal that Halloween is coming -- it is a sign of the times. The store normally opens in mid-September, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic there has not been a rush.

Inside, Maxwell Washington and his family walk the aisles in search of the perfect costume. But it won't be used for trick-or-treating.

"Right now, we are just doing inside the house, a house party," Washington said.

Halloween Express at Wisconsin State Fair Park

Halloween Express at Wisconsin State Fair Park

As the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) urges against large costume parties and door-to-door candy grabs to slow the spread of COVID-19, Halloween Express owner Jon Majdoch started to prepare for a season of unknowns.

"This year is horrible. I don't know what to say about 2020," said Majdoch. "Halloween comes on a Saturday this year. I think everyone in the costume industry expected this to be our best year ever.

"Then COVID hit."

The store got a late start in opening this year, but COVID-19 hasn't changed how Majdoch does business. He said, since the pumpkin is technically an outdoor structure with constant airflow, capacity is now limited because of the coronavirus. Face masks, though, are clearly encouraged.

Children look at costumes at Halloween Express

Children look at costumes at Halloween Express

"We sell masks -- so hey, come on in without a mask and we'll help you out," Majdoch said.

Majdoch said customers are relying on the classics. Witches, werewolves and superheroes are popular costumes this year.

There is hope that kids of all ages will still be able to enjoy the holiday in new, creative ways.

"I've seen a lot of people who have been doing Zoom phone calls, and all a sudden it's an opportunity to be a superhero when you're doing your Zoom call," said Majdoch.

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Majdoch is still waiting on a shipment of Trump and Biden masks. He said whichever candidate sells the most masks will go on to with the election.

Four years ago, FOX6 News was there when Majdoch said President Trump would win, based on sales. Sure enough, he did.

DHS discourages trick-or-treating, Halloween gatherings

The DHS is discouraging going from neighbor-to-neighbor this year and any party that includes people from outside your household.

Gov. Evers extends Wisconsin mask mandate until Nov. 21

Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday extended a statewide mask mandate until Nov. 21.