Halloween 2020 will look noticeably different from years past. COVID-19 and social-distancing measures have fundamentally shifted the social occasion to something a little more mellow. This year's spooky season required some adaptation, whether that was passing out candy or how consumers shopped for decorations. Even so, the celebrations and freights have not stopped entirely.
Candy sales are still going strong, Zoom is still quite helpful, and facemasks easily add to any costume. So, as has been the case all year, creativity and ingenuity are helping families everywhere create some semblance of normalcy in an entirely unnormal “new normal.”
In an August poll from the Morning Consult and National Confectioners Association, 80 percent of adults said they believe that people will find creative and safe ways to celebrate the Halloween season. That enthusiasm is being illustrated at retail with items such as facemasks and Zoom backgrounds offered at Halloween specialty stores such as Spirit Halloween.
"At Spirit, we work hard to create killer collections for Halloween and 2020 is no different," says Erin Springer, senior manager, public and media relations, Spirit Halloween. "We reacted quickly, and our stores are stocked with face coverings of your favorite characters like SpongeBob, Scooby-Doo and more to match any costume or simply celebrate your love of Halloween all-year long. Fans can social distance in our new inflatable costumes including 'Rick and Morty's' Mr. Meeseeks. One item that is particularly timely is our new loot scoop bags – they are perfect for keeping candy collection at arm's length."
While Spirit has seen strong e-commerce sales align with the overall increase in online retail in 2020, the Halloween superstore has also implemented new store measures to ensure customer safety. The company has partnered with infection prevention experts, the Environmental Infection Prevention and Lighthouse Facility Solutions, to safeguard store associates and guests. Spirits partners have established a science-based retail model based on established standards used in more than 500 hospitals.
The seasonal retailer has also teamed with The Halloween and Costume Association to provide tools and tips on safe trick or treating. Trick-or-treaters can visit Halloween2020.org, for an interactive map showing safe and fun ways to celebrate based on local regulations and CDC guidelines.
"Together we're bringing a heightened regimen of disinfection and cleaning standards to all Spirit Halloween stores," adds Springer.
On the candy front, reports show continued strong sales for the spooky season. The NCA has reported that overall candy seasons this fall are up year-over-year. NCA's September report found that total Halloween candy sales were up 13 percent. Meanwhile, seasonal chocolate specifically up over 25 percent compared to 2019.
Carly Schildhaus, public affairs manager, NCA, shared with License Global that candy sales are a good indicator that Halloween is still happening this year even if it looks a bit different from year's past.
"There will be regional differences across the country in the way that people choose to celebrate the Halloween season throughout the month of October," says Schilhaus. "Whether this means trick-or-treating, more candy bowl moments at home with family and close friends, or just more time celebrating the season throughout the month of October, one thing is for sure – Halloween is happening."
The NCA also established "Halloween Central" to help families find creative ways to celebrate the holiday safety. NCA's platform includes nutrition and public health experts' input to highlight novel ways to get in the spirit in 2020.
"To take the guesswork out of Halloween this year, NCA designed Halloween Central by working with nutrition professionals and leaders in the public health community – including the CDC – with the intent of helping parents navigate this uncertain time by providing them with inspiration for a creative, fun, and importantly, safe Halloween," adds Schilhaus.
Collectively, the reports from Halloween's core segments highlight that the season is still in full swing. Whether celebrating on Zoom or planning a socially distanced trick-or-treat experience, consumers are looking for some semblance of a traditional Halloween this year – and finding it.