It’s scary how big Halloween has become. With sales of themed products now in their hundreds of millions, a tradition once dedicated to remembering the dead has grown into a marketing monster.

The season of spooks, ghosties, ghouls and the undead presents brands with a heaving cryptful of marketing opportunities. According to a Mintel Seasonal Shopping report, half of us spent money getting involved in Halloween last year.

The perfect disguise

Spending on clothing over the Halloween period grew approx. £18 million between 2014-2017. According to online data portal Statista, Brits spent £166m on clothing over Halloween in 2017, up from £148m in 2014. Last year, adults were each expected to spend £12.90 on their costume, and £11.90 on outfits for each of their kids.

We’re not just talking green skinned witches and blood-soaked vampires; one in four British shoppers think traditional costumes are a thing of the past, so says research by website Vouchercodes.co.uk. Now the more adventurous are into Mexican Day of the Dead figures, characters from TV, film and game franchises. Halloween is constantly evolving, with people picking up on fan group and social media ideas.

Nor does Halloween fever stop at themed costumes; in an effort to create their own unique Halloween look, consumers have pushed up cosmetics sales, from £63m in 2017 to £86m last year, according to Mintel. This racked up the highest proportion of Instagram Halloween posts with a 28.2% share (Linkfluence).

More than fake cobwebs

An essential part of the Halloween fun for many families includes the opportunity to decorate the house and garden, according to Mintel. But however UK shoppers choose to celebrate, they’re actively looking for Halloween inspiration, and over half of them agree that social media is the ideal place to find it. That makes it the place to engage them directly with advice, product information, and opportunities to build brand awareness.

Monster’s Ball

85% of parents with children aged five to eleven will splash out on celebrating. This will be almost entirely on products, much of it on food and drink, sales of which accounted for 12% of the total Halloween spend in 2018 and reached £86m.

Fanta, for instance, are running augmented reality lenses on Snapchat that lets users transform themselves into something even more terrifying than just teenagers. 

For ‘food’ also read sweets, chocolate and more creative themed treats such as bat’s blood shakes, yummy candy eyeballs and – my fave – translucent zombie brain cake. Mm-mmm! (Should be no shortage of potential donors wandering about.) 


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