3 Trend Predictions for Halloween 2020

Needless to say, Halloween is going to look pretty different this year. As consumers adjust their traditions and expectations in response to COVID-19, brands will have to develop new strategies and campaigns in order to make Halloween 2020 feel fun and special in its own way. Although September just arrived, three significant trends have already started emerging.


Greater Investment in Digital Innovation

Mars Wrigley’s new “Treat Town” is a great example of the kind of digital initiatives we expect to see from Halloween power players. According to Mars Wrigley’s chief information officer Romain Apert, Treat Town is “an app-based digital experience for families to virtually trick or treat for real candy.” He also added that the virtual Halloween portal would launch at midnight on Oct. 1, 2020.

While trick-or-treating might be one of those live experiences that could never be fully replaced by technology, many children will already be several weeks into a remote school semester by the time the app launches. This means that they will be familiar with what it’s like to make the transition to Internet-based activities, making them more likely to embrace this new take on a classic Halloween tradition. We are betting that Mars Wrigley won’t be alone in this kind of digital launch, and marketers should keep an eye out for more of these releases from brands as we get deeper into the season.


A Major Expansion of the “Christmas Creep” 

For some retailers, the Christmas season begins as early as August – long before most consumers are even thinking about Halloween. However, the push for Christmas shopping usually begins in earnest closer to Thanksgiving. Traditionally, this comes with massive sales promotions that launch on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.

This year, the entire conversation around in-person holiday shopping is fraught. Many shoppers will want to avoid packed, rowdy stores, and there is uncertainty about whether retailers will even be legally allowed to host the kind of capacity that they’ve seen in the past. Additionally, there is a strong feeling of public sympathy for retail workers that have been on the front lines of the pandemic from the very beginning.

Retailers including Target, Walmart, and Kohl’s have already announced that they plan on closing on Thanksgiving Day, both as a safety measure and as a show of gratitude to their hard-working employees. This development combined with possibility of weaker Halloween sales could mean that brands and retailers will hedge their bets by spreading out their Christmas promotions – possibly into October. In fact, Amazon’s massively popular “Prime Day” is rumored to be in October this year, an important signal of things to come.

Michelle Gass, the CEO of Kohl’s, has suggested that shoppers might also actively plan to start their Christmas shopping early this year because they felt burned by retailers’ low inventories of essential products during the first few months of the pandemic. Gass said that consumers will want “reassurance that the product that they want to buy is going to be there,” and are willing to start shopping early in order to make that happen.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see a hybrid of Halloween and Christmas displays in the coming weeks as companies try to meet consumers’ new seasonal needs. Whether they are moving full steam ahead with Halloween or starting their Christmas shopping early this year, we expect that consumers will have their pick of holiday shopping by the time October rolls around.


Winning Costumes Incorporate Masks

For families that do plan on dressing up and celebrating Halloween in more traditional ways, costumes that seamlessly incorporate face masks are likely to be in demand.

This could mean classic plastic coverings that can hide the wearer’s everyday face mask, such as yearly-favorites Jason and Scream, or it could mean that shoppers will invest in branded face masks that can actually become part of the wearer’s costume.

Disney, which is consistently a leader in Halloween costumes, just released a multipack of cloth face masks that can be incorporated into costumes. Shoppers have the option to dress up as beloved characters including Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, and Stitch, so that Disney fans can get fully into the Halloween spirit without sacrificing safety. Disney is an important trendsetter to watch when it comes to all things Halloween, so this new release could be indicative of how consumers plan their costumes in 2020.

Although this is going to be a very different Halloween this year, there is no shortage of creative brand solutions to help consumers celebrate safely. These are some of the top trends that we’ve identified so far, but it’s still early enough in the season that surprising new developments could start to emerge.

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