80% of the general public and 90% of millennial moms and other young parents can’t imagine Halloween without chocolate and candy. Also, there's been 4.5% increase in chocolate sales since mid-March 2020, up from 2.2% growth for all of 2019.

Nikki Frazer-Reid, vice president of marketing at Quotient Technology Inc.

Halloween spending has been on an upward trend for 15 years. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers spent an average of $48 per person ($3.3 billion total) on Halloween-related spending in 2005 alone. The average has increased relatively steadily in the years since with only temporary drops along the way, rising to $86 per person ($8.8 billion) in 2019.

This year was off to a great start as well. Consumers spent more on both the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day in 2020 than in 2019, suggesting that other holidays and events may have enjoyed similar growth. The pandemic quickly followed, however, raising more than a few goosebumps for brands and consumers alike. But there are still reasons to be optimistic about this year’s Halloween.

Quotient’s data shows Halloween has experienced a 158% increase in social engagement month-over-month. And according to a report by the National Confectioners Association (NCA), 74% of millennial moms and young parents believe that Halloween is “more important than ever this year.” 80% of the general public and 90% of millennial moms and young parents “can’t imagine Halloween without chocolate and candy” and feel that “trick-or-treating is irreplaceable.” NCA also reported a 4.5% increase in chocolate sales since mid-March 2020, up from 2.2% growth for all of 2019.

This is in-line with other times of economic hardship, most notably the last recession, in which chocolate sales increased. All this to say, brands should get excited about and prepare for the upcoming holiday. Here’s how they can make the day extra sweet, no matter how or where consumers decide to celebrate.

advertisement

Demonstrate unique ways to trick-or-treat

Consumers have spent a lot of time indoors during the pandemic, so it’s only natural that they would be interested in ways to enjoy the holiday from home. Our data shows that “at-home trick-or-treating” experienced a 249% increase in social engagement year-over-year. “Trick-or-treat bags” (a 400% increase in social engagement month-over-month; 32% increase year over year), “candy bags” (61% increase month over month) and “candy to-go” (36% increase month over month) have also grown in popularity.

Searches like these indicate that consumers are interested in ways to hand out tasty treats in a socially distant manner. Residents could leave candy bags on their front porches for kids and adult neighbors to enjoy or left as a thank-you for mail carriers and food delivery drivers. For those who are working on-site, people could leave bags in an office lobby for a contact-free treat.

Brands can also get in on the frightful fun this Halloween by highlighting the various ways that consumers can set up an at-home experience for their kids. is may include an indoor trick-or-treating extravaganza with different decorations for each room. Parents could convert the backyard into a spooky graveyard, spruce up the living room to resemble Count Dracula’s lair and transform the kitchen into a mad scientist’s laboratory. Parents could take turns handing out treats in each room or set up mini candy shops for self-service amusement.

Have fun without going door-to-door

Kids don’t need to go door-to-door to enjoy one of the best parts of Halloween. Parents have found a new way to celebrate that involves trick-or-treating from car trunks. First implemented in neighborhoods or parking lots, the concept has grown in popularity this year. Pinterest reported substantial increases for two related search queries: “Halloween car decorations trunks” (up 73% year over year) and “trick or trunk ideas for cars” (up 153% year over year). Brands can get in on the fun by demonstrating cool ways for parents to transform their trunks with Halloween-themed decorations.

An omnichannel campaign serving those who can’t go door-to-door or trunk-to-trunk this yea could go a long way in engaging audiences in new and creative manners. For example, Mars Wrigley has developed an app that will allow users to trick-or-treat virtually throughout October.

advertisement

Halloween is about more than that one special day, however. It can involve spooky movie nights, homemade treats or even a spin on other holiday traditions. Brands can get creative and demonstrate how to build and decorate a haunted gingerbread house made of (or topped with) candy. They could also offer recipes for candy-decorated cakes and dessert pizzas that feature their most ghoulish—and tastiest—products.

Whatever brands choose to do, they should aim every campaign at helping consumers create a holiday that’s magical and memorable, whether for themselves, their kids, or both. With a fun campaign that offers a different take on traditions, brands can play a key role in ensuring that this year’s Halloween is a success.

Quotient Technology Inc. is a digital promotions, media and analytics company.

Favorite