Croton-on-Hudson, a quiet town 37 miles from New York City, typically attracts over 100,000 tourists for its Halloween celebrations. But this year, America’s Great Pumpkin and Horror Party will be under heavy surveillance, with unusual thrills due to pandemic and election. ‘Witches’ Night’ is a real industry in this area of the Hudson River Valley: tourists disembark in Croton and the nearby town of Sleepy Hollow, attracted by ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ – the story of a schoolteacher persecuted by a headless horsewoman, designed by Washington Irving in 1820.
However, the situation continues to escalate in the country, in the midst of the electoral campaign. The world’s leading power on Thursday recorded a new record of Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, crossing for the first time the barrier of 90,000 new contaminations, according to a count from Johns-Hopkins University. On the same day, precisely 91,290 people were infected, while 1,021 died from Covid-19. The United States had a total of 228,625 deaths Thursday evening since the start of the pandemic, and 8.94 million cases.
However, Croton has maintained its main event: “the great fire of the Jack O’Lanterns”, a sound and light show featuring more than 7,000 carved and illuminated pumpkins, in front of the historic home of Van Cortlandt Manor. “I’m so happy they kept it up this year. There are so many things kids can’t do, it’s good to have a Halloween tradition they can participate in, ”Sarah Nocerino, 36, mother of two, told Agence France-Presse. girls, who come to see this show every year.
The presidential election in everyone’s mind
Across the United States, Halloween promises to be very watched this year, the approach of a particularly tense presidential election adding to the pandemic. “Do you know what is more disturbing than Halloween? That people do not go to vote ”, tweeted recently the attorney general of Michigan, Democrat Dana Nessel, disguised as a witch for the occasion. Some costumes reflect current events, with ballot-shaped outfits or Vice President Mike Pence’s wig adorned with a fake fly, a memento of his debate against Democratic rival Kamala Harris.
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But in the town of Salem, Massachusetts – which has become a sort of witch capital thanks to its famous witchcraft trials of the 1690s – authorities have asked visitors to avoid coming, for fear of contamination. From Massachusetts to California, many states have advised children against knocking on doors for sweets this year, as tradition dictates, but they do not want to prohibit it.
Virtual show in New York
The Centers for Disease Prevention (CDC) ask to avoid this ritual, as do costume parties. They recommend that sweets and other sweets be left outside, in individual sachets, away from the entrance of houses or apartments. In New York itself, the very festive parade, which brings together some 60,000 people each year, has been replaced by a virtual show.
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Despite everything, Croton-on-Hudson will have its scariest scarecrow contest on Saturday, and its parade of elves for children, with all the necessary precautions, explains Brian Pugh, mayor of this city of 8,000 inhabitants. “After seven months of the pandemic, the psychological impact of distancing is weighing on the morale of a lot of people,” he said, determined to enjoy a “scary Halloween, safe.” “