The Future of Halloween During A Pandemic, According To Moms

Halloween is a $8 billion holiday, according to the National Retail Federation, with the second highest holiday spend among moms after Christmas.  

With social distancing, the cancellation of classroom learning and some college fall sports, it’s a natural progression to ask, what about Halloween? 

Party City surveyed 945 mothers from across the United States for their thoughts on the spooky and fun holiday during a pandemic.  Here’s a look into the future of Halloween according to U.S. mothers. 

Halloween is serious business for mothers.  Over 70% of families begin celebrating the Halloween season on or before Oct. 1. Some 35% begin shopping for costumes in August, with 62% already talking to other moms about their plans.  

Moms want to celebrate Halloween.  Ninety-eight percent want their families to be able to celebrate Halloween this year — but only 52% would allow their children to traditionally trick or treat if the holiday was next week.  This is why party specialists expect moms to go overboard on lawn and home décor this year.



It’s not Halloween monsters and ghosts that frighten moms, it’s the fear of disappointing their children.  Thirty-seven percent of moms are afraid of the tears canceling Halloween would cause, while another 36% are fearful that local restrictions will eliminate their families’ fun.  In order to avoid sad faces, moms are already inventing new ways to celebrate with their families. 

Wagon and bike parades and costume sidewalk shows will lead the way as new Halloween celebrations this year.  Moms are innovative, and social distancing is no challenge for their creativity in making memories for their children.  Neighborhoods will likely be filled with clever costumes and decorations on two and four wheels this year.   

Drive-by trick or treating and porch treat drops will replace door-to-door trick or treating for 2020. Forty-seven percent of moms surveyed say they will participate in drive-by trick or treating if today’s conditions persist in October.  Smart brands are on trend now offering car decorations, door drop favors and yard decorations that support these new celebrations. 

Booing will be the most used verb of the 2020 Halloween season.  Not sure what “booing” is? Don’t worry, we won’t leave you in the dark.  Booing is the act of leaving treats or decorations at the home of a neighbor with no indication of where they came from.  The surprise is fun and leaves friends wondering “who is the ghost who left his mark?” This is great news for home décor, snack foods and small toy brands.  Booing is an opportunity for incremental sales during the preholiday season. 

Halloween 2020 presents new opportunities for brands to connect with moms and families. It’s been a year of pivoting on marketing tactics, and now is the time to rethink your Halloween strategy.

2 comments about "The Future of Halloween During A Pandemic, According To Moms".
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  1. Mark Giovino from Allionce Group, LLC, August 24, 2020 at 2:32 p.m.

    There is another interesting option for Moms this Halloween. Boo at the Zoo is an annual tradition for families with young kids to enjoy trick or treating, hayrides, pumpkin carving, costume contests and other fun activites at their local zoo! More than 90% of zoos across the country are open and are seeing strong attendance, primarily because there are so few options for places to take the kids, and as an outdoor venue with hundreds of acres, it's much easier to comply with distancing requirements.  

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited replied, August 24, 2020 at 3:19 p.m.

    You just suggested an activity that defeats the purpose. 

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