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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Berdiel

Creepin’ It Real: Halloween’s Marketing Mayhem

Would Halloween be what it is today without marketing? Let’s be real, there’s no chance. If it weren’t for marketing, we wouldn’t be experiencing this spooktacular holiday the way we do. Think about it, how much money do you spend on Halloween goods during the month of October?

Each year, National Retail Federation releases statistics about Halloween spending in America. In total, Americans spend roughly nine billion dollars on Halloween goods. This averages about $86 per person. This money goes towards candy, costumes, and decorations. When we talk about this revenue, we have to look at the marketing techniques that it stems from.

Did you know that originally we did not give out candy on Halloween? Americans started Halloween traditions in the 1840s, but it wasn’t until around the 1970s that we started passing out candy to Trick or Treaters. It evolved from homemade treats to wrapped sweets. This is when the candy industry started really booming. Americans spend roughly three million dollars on candy alone during the month of October.

It is all a game of marketing.

Now, how did retailers capitalize on this shift? We started to see Halloween specific treats come into play. Of course, we have our classic candies at work, such as: candy corn, chocolate bars, and popcorn balls. But then you have candy retailers making candy specifically for the spooky holiday. Kit Kat makes a Witches Brew chocolate that has marshmallows in it. Reeses makes their classic peanut butter cups in the shape of a pumpkin. You have Slithering Snake Suckers, Gummy Candy Body Parts, and Zombie Skittles. Just to name a few. You also have businesses with Halloween specific promotions. Fast food companies put out select coupons for this holiday. You will see Halloween specific displays go up in just about every retail store around September.

And marketing is a game of adapting.

It used to be that you would see advertisements on the television for such things. But now, we are in the age of social media. Taking out ads on platforms like Facebook and Youtube have proven effective for some campaigns. But recently the most effective way of running a marketing campaign has been on TikTok. With #Halloween already trending early in the month of October, the hype is real. A prime example of a brand that used TikTok to amplify their sales is Mars Wrigley, the famous makers of M&Ms, Twix, Milky Way, Snickers, and many more of our favorite treats. They took their advertisements to TikTok in 2020 because the Covid-19 pandemic hindered Trick or Treaters from experiencing Halloween in their traditional fashion. Mars launched a digital Halloween experience called Treat Town, where users send candy virtually. This app was boosted by TikTok and the app installations sky-rocketed. The campaign video reached 123 million views and increased brand association by roughly 13%.

So, how can your company take a cue from these techniques?

  1. Create a product or promotion that is specific to the holiday. Roll with what is already the talking point in the conversation. Come up with ideas to make your business a part of that conversation.

  2. Establish a hashtag or use an already trending hashtag. Is there a Halloween tradition at your workplace that you would want to share with people? Any pranks or scares that get a good laugh? Turning a moment into a viral sensation can put your company on the map.

3. Seize the opportunity. Halloween reaches many demographics. Use it as a

mechanism to broaden your company's reach and take that momentum into

the holiday season.

Implement these techniques this Halloween and start thinking about how they can help moving forward into Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas. Don’t forget - have fun, stay safe, and creep it real!


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