Boo! It’s that time of year again! Halloween is just around the corner but this year is looking very different, with the tricks we might normally get up to somewhat scared off by the C-word. The thought of dipping your hands into a bag of sweets or worse, your face into a bowl of bobbing apples is, of course, enough to put a chill into anyone.
But given that the Halloween industry was worth a hair-raising £419m pounds in 2018, retailers and brands are not about to take 2020 lying down. We take a look at some of the novel ways they’re keeping the fright alive.
Bag a boo-bag
Boo bags have been gaining popularity in the States in recent years and this year it seems, is their time to shine. Also known as ‘ghosting’ (no, not that kind) and ‘Boo-gramming’, it’s a little like the chain letter craze that went round at school. The idea is simple: fill a bag with treats and leave it anonymously on the doorstep of a neighbour. Include a ‘We’ve been boo’d’ sign for your recipient to hang in their window and ask them to pay it forward… before you know it the whole street will have been ‘boo’d’.
With no face to face contact, it’s a craze that’s perfectly suited to the current times, so it’s no wonder retailers like Meijer, Walmart and Target are making Boo Bags a speciality this year. We know one thing: when it comes to holidays, where the States leads, the UK tends to follow, so we predict it won’t be long until Asda, Morrisons and co. join them. If you fancy making your own this year, check out Etsy, who is already ahead of the game.
Zoom turns Zoom-bie
Given the success of the Zoom pub quiz over the last few months, it’s a no-brainer that people will turn online for group Halloween antics. Confectionary brands in particular have been quick to get in on the act this year, combining the age-old tradition of trick and treating with the ‘new normal’ virtual hangout. Sweet brand Swizzels will be hosting a two hour ‘Fright Night’ claiming it to be the ‘biggest virtual Halloween party’, streamed live on Halloween eve on their socials. Spooky games, challenges and the chance to win lots of sweet prizes await anyone who dares to signs up.
Meanwhile everyone’s favourite jelly bean brand, Jelly Belly has created an app to accompany their BeanBoozled Flaming Five Challenge, a fiendish game of Russian Roulette with chilli-flavoured sweets. The app comes with video sharing function so friends can challenge each other in real time, wherever they are. Send an invite, and once they accept you’re all in the game together – spin the wheel and the fate of your tastebuds is sealed.
Food gets frightening
Finally, we can’t help but be impressed by the ingenuity of the supermarkets this year in making sure a Halloween at home contains as many spook-tacular treats as it can. Lidl has used the occasion to bump up the numbers of its new loyalty scheme with its 35p Halloween donut being given out for free to all Lidl Plus members. And we love the originality of their Monster Market campaign, complete with a competition to win £1000 of Lidl vouchers by sending in your spookiest Halloween pics.
Elsewhere, we see Waitrose having a run on pineapples and melons with their alternative ideas to pumpkin carving. But it’s M&S Food that steals the spook show, with a veritable feast of terrifying treats. With his scarily good makeover, we’ve got all the feels for Colin the Caterpillar who’s turned Frankencolin especially for the occasion. Mwah ha ha…