Halloween themed graphic that reads "Halloween for Marketers"

It’s alive: Halloween 2020 will persevere thanks to millennials

By: Patrick Kopischkie 

Halloween may look a little different this year. The Carole Baskin costumes may be Carole Maskin, the Monster Mash may be over Zoom but Halloween is not canceled, it’s just different. A recent study found that 63% of adults plan to celebrate Halloween in a new, fun, safe way this year. Social media too is not canceled. That said, last Halloween, nearly half of millennials admitted to purchasing a Halloween costume specifically so they could post about it on social media.

So, how much will consumers spend in 2020? According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), spending will be roughly $8.05 billion, down from $8.78 billion in 2019. More than half of consumers are planning to decorate and 46% still plan to dress up. So, what does this mean for marketers? Halloween spending may be different this year but spending there will be. And we know that nobody celebrates spooky season quite like millennials. Here are three tricks to help marketers succeed in this year’s very different Halloween.


Fill those social feeds with relevant, actionable content for dressing up at home

Unlike ghosts, great Halloween ideas don’t just appear out of thin air. When searching for costumes, décor and more, 65% of millennials turn to social media. Of the social channels, Pinterest gets the most millennial traffic for Halloween. When averaging the amount of users searching for inspiration on Halloween costumes, make-up, food and decorations, 38% turned to Pinterest followed by Facebook at 28% and Instagram at 16%. Pushing Halloween-related content like ‘Best Halloween Costumes 2020’ on these social channels, both organic and paid, can help drive up awareness, increase engagement and boost the likeliness of a conversion. For the 51% of millennials who opt to DIY their costume rather than buy it, share step-by-step how-to tutorials for costumes that feature or require your product. Don’t fret, Halloween costume hot spots, that means 49% are choosing to purchase their costume, whether it be in-store or through a leading online Halloween costume shop like www.costumesupercenter.com. Whether millennials are searching for the best DIY couples costume or a bone-chilling cocktail, social media is the optimal way to spark some spooky inspiration with your brand in mind. 


How much has social media influenced spending graph

Don’t forget about their #dogsofinstagram and #catsofinstagram

Studies show millennials are treating pets more like a firstborn child; this we know is true. It should come as no surprise that millennials are most likely to dress up their (reluctant) Fidos and Fluffys to imprrrress this Halloween. According to the NRF, 18% of consumers plan to dress up pets in 2020. This year, common pet costumes include pumpkins, hot dogs, superheroes and bumblebees.

In addition to blasting out that social content to human millennials, make sure to include some custom content for pet parents too—from a cute video to build awareness, content like ‘top pet costumes for 2020’ and finally, retargeting to users who engaged with the previous two upper-funnel objectives. Keep in mind, it’s not just about the costumes. Perhaps it’s a giveaway for some spooky new toys, a recipe for some pumpkin ‘howl-loween’ treats or a classic Halloween photo contest.


Reach millennials with weather-triggered ads during early fall temperature changes

Fall isn’t canceled either. And if there’s one thing millennials love more than Halloween, it’s the season it falls in (pun intended). The crunch of leaves, brisk autumn air and start of sweater weather are enough to get anyone in the spending spirit...literally. Studies show that even a slight fluctuation in temperature can have a dramatic impact on sales of products in varying categories. Need more proof? In 1974, record high temperatures during the month of October led to record low spending on Halloween-related purchases.

Moral of the story: take advantage of the changing seasons when marketing Halloween to millennials (26% of whom deem fall their favorite season). Afterall, 37% of all Halloween spending happens before October. This creates a unique opportunity to create weather-triggered ads, designed to run when local weather hits a designated fall temperature. Keep in mind, what is considered ‘fall weather’ will depend on location and climate. Weather-triggered ads have proven successful in the world of native and now, this same tried-and-true method is exhibiting success on social—a place where many of these millennials are already searching for inspiration. Monitor the weather in your target markets and toggle ads on or off depending on the current weather conditions. As the cooler fall weather arrives, marketers can capitalize on shoppers ready to get in the spirit of the season with this easy and efficient targeting option.

Halloween 2020 is alive!


Hoffman York is a full-service advertising and marketing communications agency with experience identifying and reaching target audiences. HY provides clients with award-winning creative solutions, digital, paid media, earned and social media, as well as research and analytics. To learn more about how HY can help your brand succeed, contact us at [email protected]. Or, click here to view our work.


Patrick Kopischkie, Director of Content & Public Relations at Hoffman YorkAbout the Author: 

Patrick Kopischkie is the Director of Content & Public Relations at Hoffman York, a full-service advertising agency offering award-winning creative, digital, paid media, content and public relations, as well as research and analytics. Patrick's ability to deliver creative storytelling to brands has produced many award-winning campaigns over his 20-year career. He brings a big-idea mentality to projects, fusing creative thinking with action that gets people talking, sharing and buying.

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