A Haunted Halloween?

A Haunted Halloween?

Naomi Sleeper
Vice President Continuous Improvement and Strategic Initiatives
Imperial Distributors


It was still August when I walked into the supermarket and was greeted by Halloween candy and pumpkin themed cookies. In many grocery and drug stores, Halloween merchandise displays have arrived two to four weeks early this year in an effort to make up for expected lost holiday sales, particularly for the candy companies, due to Covid-19. Several Halloween events, like indoor haunted houses and spooky nights at theme parks, have already been cancelled, and families are questioning the fate of trick-or-treating in their neighborhoods. All this uncertainty during a year when—for the first time in five years— the holiday finally falls on a Saturday! So, besides merchandising candy early, what can supermarkets do to capitalize on Halloween sales this year? Make sure the following seasonal product categories are covered to avoid haunted Halloween sales.

1. Halloween masks: Masks have always been a staple for Halloween costumes, but they could serve double duty for consumers this year. We have already seen shoppers donning masks and full body inflatable costumes since last spring as creative and whimsical alternatives to face masks. Halloween provides a greater excuse to trade out every-day cloth and medical masks with something more festive. While the CDC has warned that these coverings are not any more protective than a cloth mask, we can expect to see the appeal of these alternatives growing as Halloween approaches. Be prepared for consumer demand by ensuring these Halloween-inspired face coverings are readily available in your stores.

2. Outdoor Halloween décor: Even if trick-or-treating is a no-go, consumers can still celebrate with outdoor Halloween decorations for neighbors to enjoy. Don’t miss out on selling hot outdoor decorating items like inflatables, tombstones and skeletons for shoppers’ front yards.

3. Indoor candles and décor: While indoor Halloween bashes will likely be limited this year, families can still keep the spirit high for their own enjoyment. Fall scented candles and home decorations are a great way for shoppers to get into the season regardless of social-gathering or trick-or-treating restrictions. Feature this seasonal merchandise prominently with Halloween-themed treats to help shoppers bring home some fall spirit.

4. In-store decorations: Finally, amplify the shopping experience by turning in-store Halloween decorations up a notch. Customers will appreciate the holiday spirit, especially after months of restrictions.

Even in the context of Covid-19, supermarkets can make the most of fall seasonal sales by appealing to consumers’ craving for fun and festivity. Help shoppers safely enjoy the fall holidays with some extra spirit this season.