The scene at the Party City in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx looks markedly different than it has in late October in years past. Instead of images of Halloween costumes that the store carries being showcased on the windows near the entrance, there is a sign promoting the location’s curbside pickup service — something employees say was introduced in March as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Inside, the inventory is abundant, and the customers are scarce. Rows of costumes packed in plastic bags line the expansive back wall of the store. A woman leisurely walks by them and glances at a flapper costume before taking a left turn to pick up balloons that read “Congratulations.”
In the party supplies section, an employee stands at the top of a ladder as he chats with another employee below him about the irony of having time to change a lightbulb on the weekend before Halloween. Just an aisle away, a mother and her daughter browse through the candy as they fill up a shopping cart with a variety pack that contains M&M’s, Hershey’s bars and Snickers.
“We all love Halloween, so this year isn’t going to be the same. Usually I take my two daughters trick-or-treating, but this year we won’t,” says Erika Ortiz, a customer who has two daughters, five and eight, and lives in the Pelham Parkway neighborhood of the Bronx.
Though Halloween is just one of the fast-approaching holidays that will undoubtedly look and feel different in the midst of the pandemic, many people are still choosing to focus on what they can do to make the most of their circumstance.
“A few of the parents at my daughters’ school got together to ask if the kids could dress up this year. Usually they don’t because it’s a Catholic school but they actually said yes, so I’m glad they can at least have that. And I can still put some makeup on them, which they always look forward to,” says Ortiz.