Halloween is the Perfect Time to Scare Up Some New Business

The winter holiday season is still months away, but consumers are itching for a festivity. That could explain why domestic spending on Halloween keeps going up. The National Retail Federation predicts $9.1 billion will be spent on candy and costumes and the like for this year’s holiday, up 8.3 percent from last year.

Customer relationship management expert Salesforce came to a similar conclusion. Their research showed a 68 percent increase in halloween-related online searches this season, which they estimate will translate to double-digit increase in online halloween sales. Keeping with broader trends in ecommerce, a larger and larger proportion of those searches are taking place via mobile channels.

Rick Kenney, head of consumer insights at Salesforce Commerce Cloud, believes that Halloween is particularly suited to online shopping because consumers spend a lot of time online checking out the latest seasonal trends:

“During a research-driven holiday like Halloween, where shoppers are looking to create costumes or decorations, digital is benefiting as more visits are leading to purchases.”

With so many eyeballs and pocketbooks in play, top brands are pulling out all the stops to attract attention, convert sales, and carve out an influential position in the Halloween market. Here are five brands that are going big this year:


Put away your Unicorn Fraps, tis the season for something with a lot less whimsy and slightly more dread. This halloween, Starbucks is rolling out a concoction flavored with green caramel apple powder and topped with brain colored pink whipped cream that they are calling the Zombie Frappuccino.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Not one to be outdone by its more upscale rival, Dunkin’ is getting ready to shift away from cold-brewed summer drinks and is launching an Almond Joy hot chocolate to ring in the fall. They will also be running a Halloween costume contest on Instagram.

Entrants can post their getups along with the hashtag #DDHalloweenContest for a chance to win $2,500, a year’s supply of coffee, and see their pic supersized on the Dunkin’ Donuts Times Square billboard.


Also, between October 26th through Halloween, Dunkin’ will be running a Snapchat activation with an interactive game called “Donut Pop,” which unlocks exclusive geofilters and lenses.

Farmer’s Insurance

Buzz is high for Netflix’s mega hit “Stranger Things,” which is set to return for its second season on October 27th. Farmer’s Insurance is piggybacking on that excitement with a 360-degree video experience called “Stranger Claims.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTqat8EzlTw&w=1300&h=600&rel=0 ]

Actor J.K. Simmons, a spokesman for the brand since 2010, narrates the video, describing several eerie claims the insurance company has covered such as a giant patch of grass that mysteriously disappeared from someone’s yard one night.


Looking for an opportunity to inject some ghoulish fun into the day, Chipotle of Canada will be bringing back its popular ‘Booritos’ promotion. On October 31st anyone in costume can get a burrito for just $3 after 3pm at most Canadian Chipotle locations.


As part of a massive program, Budweiser is launching a Halloween campaign in 17 international markets. It all kicks off with the release of a new music video the brand sponsored for R&B star Kehlani’s song “Touch.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwZq_gTKlfo&w=1300&h=600&rel=0 ]

The beer brand sees a big opportunity to gain traction in a holiday that is being underexploited. According to Andrew Oosterhuis, director of marketing for Budweiser at Labatt Breweries of Canada:

“If you think of occasions you can participate in that have a lot of energy, St. Patrick’s Day is one in the spring, and May 24 weekend is one that kicks off the summer. Halloween is a big occasion in the fall calendar, and there hasn’t been a brand that’s been activating against it at scale.”