The Power of Pivoting: Halloween Strategies for 2020

Park your broom and sit for a spell. The Halloween movie marathons have started. Your favorite restaurants are offering pumpkin-themed meals and drinks. The candy commercials have taken over your television. The stores have become riddled with displays of ghastly ghouls. That’s right, spooky season is upon us. Halloween is a time of year when the kid inside of millions of people is unleashed. You get a chance to get in the spooky spirit and make some sales right? 

With everything that has happened this year, Halloween will definitely be a day to remember. Trick or treating may be out of the question, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to capitalize on this fun-filled holiday. 

We are all craving a sense of normalcy after the year we’ve had and Halloween gives us just that. Your favorite spooky films are still going to be on TV and when you go to the grocery store and see the Halloween displays, I’m sure your heart will smile just like mine did.

Want to know how to pivot your spooky strategy this year? Keep reading and we’ll show you which companies are crushing Halloween marketing. 


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Halloween is no fun without our favorite candy and chocolates. Surveys for this upcoming season showed that 49% of shoppers planned to spend less on Halloween this year.  Although the sales forecast for our favorite candy companies were unsurprisingly low this year, those companies proved those projections wrong. September showed a 13% increase in candy sales from last year. Much of this increase was accounted for by chocolate sales. Chocolate sales have been up since July, so it’s no surprise that they helped this increase. 

Out of all the candy competitors, we love what Hershey’s did the best. Most candy companies have put their products in stores early, but Hershey’s took it one step further. 

So, what exactly did they do?
One thing that they did was bring trick or treating to Snapchat. “Treat Quest” allows users to search for virtual candy with the chance to win prizes and unlock Halloween themed lenses. 

That’s not all Hershey’s did. They also partnered with the Halloween Costume Association to create a website that lists safety guidelines for 2020. These guidelines include a color-coded COVID risk map and Halloween activities based on the risk factor. 

But, Hershey’s did not stop there. Are you familiar with Hershey Happiness Hub? Well, Hershey got a Halloween squad together to ensure you had the best recipes and ideas for Halloween. This is a first-ever initiative that is compiled of industry experts that have all the best ideas for having fun this Halloween season. The Happiness Hub consists of recipes, backyard candy hunts, and tips and tricks for you to have the best Halloween. Check out the website and you’ll see something for everyone. There are frightfully fun cookie recipes (Hershey’s candy is used of course). They have costume and decoration ideas and there are some pretty cool Halloween hacks. Halloween at home never looked this good, thanks to Hershey. 


Dunkin’ Donuts

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Dunkin’ Donuts has proven to be a leader in Halloween costume festivities. Every year they deliver everything from seasonal donuts and costume contests. In years past, Dunkin’ customers joined in on the festivities by creating their own Dunkin’ themed costumes. The coffee restaurant was so inspired that in 2018 they created a costume contest. The prize? Dunkin’ customers had the chance to win $1000 and a year’s worth of coffee if they posted their costumes on Instagram using the hashtag #DunkinDressUpContest. This year, Dunkin’ teamed up with Spirit Halloween to create official Dunkin Costumes. They are introducing two costumes: an Adult Dunkin’ Hot Coffee Cup Costume and an Adult Dunkin’ Strawberry Frosted Donut Costume.

Costumes aren’t the only thing Dunkin’ does well. Customers love their ghoulish donuts as well, a fan favorite is the Spider Donut. Dunkin used their blogs to promote their donuts, they’re so cute, I want to go buy a dozen myself.  never fails to keep you in the spooky spirit. They created DIY Donut Kits for kids that let you make mini monster Munchkins! They also have regular decorating kits, that include larger donuts, three icings, and three sprinkle blends.  Want to know more about how Dunkin celebrates the spooky season? Head over to their website and check out the rest of their articles. 


Lush Cosmetics

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Products that change based on the seasons are true gems in the marketing world, Lush is famous for coming out with limited time bath products for the holidays. They are a

 leading producer in fresh, vegan, handmade cosmetics. They built a billion-dollar industry off of word of mouth marketing and it definitely shows. One thing this popular company does is create high quality, shareable content to generate buzz, just look at the image above. When I initially saw it, I thought it was a Halloween promotion, in fact, it’s both a Halloween and Christmas promotion.

SN: The image was so captivating, that I had no choice but to read the caption.

Social media has been the main tool for Lush when pushing Halloween campaigns and products. They recently used social media to promote a Halloween themed contest – Lord of Misrule 2020. Lord of Misrule is a collection of bath gems inspired by the ruler of the pagan Feast of Fools. Lushies (Lush customers) can film themselves dressed up and explain why they should be crowned Lord of Misrule. Users upload their videos to YouTube and 4 winners are selected. 

The promotions don’t stop there. They use Instagram to play games with their followers and many of the images are shoppable posts. User-Generated Content has been at the center of their strategy. If you check out their Instagram you’ll see posts from users that boast about their products. To kick off talk about their #LushHalloween2020 collection, they posted a picture from Refinery 29. The images show a bath bomb from their Halloween collection, and trust me it smells as good as it looks!

Lush does promotion well so we know COVID is not stopping their sales. They use social media and unique product development to tap into users’ hearts and secure the sale. 

So, what lessons can your business take from Dunkin’ Donuts, Hershey, and Lush? Let’s name a few. 
Never underestimate the power of using branded hashtags.

Branded hashtags are great for getting your customers in the spirit and driving awareness of your brand. If the hashtag becomes popular, there is sure to conversations about your business. When using social media, the branded hashtags help keep USG in one place so be sure to use them in your promotions. 

Costume contests are the way to go. 

Halloween is known for dressing up in your favorite costumes. If you arent dressing up, what are you really doing? Virtual costume contests give people a sense of normalcy and allow them the chance to win some pretty cool prizes. Zigazoo, PKB, and many others are giving their customers a chance to show off their Halloween swag, take a page from their book and do it too. 

Give them ideas. 

Hershey’s created an entire website solely with ideas… can you say GENIUS. They gave everything from recipes to candy delivery hacks, to costume ideas. You don’t have to create your own website, but leverage social media, give DIYs. In this COVID world, DIY projects are on the rise, so take part and get your customers involved. 

Use Social Media.

This one should be a no-brainer, but you need to be using social media to promote your campaigns. Lush started over a month early, and they never let up. Your messaging will be one of your most important assets during this time, use social media to drive awareness and keep your customers engaged.

Now that you see what these companies are doing for the Halloween season, what are you going to do to promote Halloween and drive awareness to your brand? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

Eric Woodson
Latest posts by Eric Woodson (see all)


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