Safe Scares: How Are Brands Adapting to Halloween in 2020?

Halloween always represents a great opportunity for brands to deviate from their traditional marketing appearance and put on a costume like the rest of us. However, like the rest of our society, Halloween will look a little different this year due to COVID-19. Even with the pandemic still ongoing, many brands are still celebrating Halloween, doing so in some clever and new ways. In in the spirit of the holiday, let’s take a look at some of the interesting and spooky brand adaptations for this unusual year.

Reese’s and Their Trick-or-Treat Robot:

Halloween is the most important time of the year for candy brands like Reese’s. With many trick-or-treaters changing their plans or forgoing their usual candy trek altogether this year, candy companies have had to get creative. Enter Reese’s trick-or-treat robot, which will be deployed in lucky neighborhoods around the country that win an Instagram sweepstakes using the #ReesesDoor hashtag. The robot looks like an orange, lantern-lit door that dispenses the company’s signature peanut butter cups when costumed children say “Trick or treat!” It’s a seasonal and clever step up from their “Halloween Candy Converter” in 2018.

Roblox and iD Tech Team Up for Virtual Trick-or-Treating:

Roblox, a popular online video game designed for kids, is teaming up with STEM youth education company iD Tech for a “Halloween Block Party.” The event is free for children aged 7-17 and will feature kid-friendly haunted houses, corn mazes, bounce houses, hayrides, collectible costumes, and photo-ops—all virtual. In the event, players can collect candy to gain points and increase their score on the event’s leaderboard.

This event has been a smash hit with families, generating over 100 virtual reservations per hour since it was announced. This virtual “Halloween Block Party” is a great use of the Roblox platform, as well as an excellent way to increase brand visibility for iD Tech, a company that mainly operates online programs and summer camps for STEM universities. Helping to host a free, online, kid-friendly event is a clever and community-focused to generate brand recognition.

Wendy’s Is Hosting Their First “Scare-Thru” Event:

Halloween by car is a trend this year due to the ongoing pandemic, which is leading to some innovative experiences from established brands. If you live in the Los Angeles area, you can stop by Wendy’s first-ever “Scare-Thru” experience, which will feature creepy clowns, jack-o-lanterns, and more. They are advertising that the first 5,000 visitors will receive a “Boo Book,” which is full of coupons for free and discounted menu items. This event is a smart way to capitalize on the spookiest season of the year while also targeting an older audience and getting them involved in the trick-or-treating spirit.

Halloween sets itself apart from other major holidays by allowing brands to present themselves drastically different from how they usually do. Other holidays, like Christmas and the 4th of July, lend themselves to simple changes in things like color palette or messaging, but Halloween encourages a level of risk-taking that makes for exciting and distinct ways to reinterpret and present brands in a new (spooky) light. Even though 2020 has looked different for all of us, these brands (and many others) have gone above and beyond to offer festive experiences that keep people safe—all while expanding their brand. No tricks, just treats.