Published on October 7, 2020, at 10:01 p.m.
by Julianna Kendall.
Are candy and pumpkins really important right now? By May, 36.5 million U.S. citizens had filed for unemployment due to the pandemic. As of October, those numbers have gone down; however, families and companies are still struggling to get their bearings in this new normal. As Halloween approaches, several Halloween-profiting companies are modeling how to practice social listening.
Instead of putting out ads to convince people they need chocolate, these companies are generating public relations campaigns that focus on the needs of the American people. They are bringing the public normalcy, fighting stereotypes, and showing people how to have a safe, COVID-19-free Halloween.
Lowe’s brings back a bit of normalcy.
On Oct. 5, Lowe’s earned media attention when it announced that it will be doing drive-through curbside trick-or-treating at its stores nationwide. The event will take place on Oct. 22 and Oct. 29, and families will receive free pumpkins and candy.
Lowe’s executive VP of stores, Joe McFarland, noted in the press release announcement that he understands customers want some normalcy in these trying times. He said, “We know that customers still want to celebrate Halloween, even if the holiday may look different for us this year. While the pandemic has changed many elements of everyday life, the tradition of trick-or-treating doesn’t have to be one of them.”
The Hershey Company spreads COVID-19 awareness and trick-or-treating safety.
This year the Hershey company, Spirit Halloween and more have joined together to promote a website where parents can click on their county on a map and see what kind of precautions they need to be carrying out with their kids on Oct. 31 based on their county’s risk levels. The website also offers alternatives to trick-or-treating like Netflix parties, Zoom parties and at-home scavenger hunts.
Zolli Candy, Treetopia and Headless Horseman Hayrides inspire creativity.
Zolli Candy has partnered with Treetopia, a company known for its extravagant, artificial Christmas trees. Together, they are doing a sweepstakes on social media Oct. 5-11. Two lucky winners will each win a black or orange Treetopia tree and a pack of Zolli candies to decorate their tree. This campaign is a giveaway to generate buzz for the company, but it is also a collaboration of two companies who want to encourage people that Halloween can still be celebrated this year safely through alternative, creative means. They are inspiring people to create their own Halloween trees, so that instead of having kids spread germs door to door, they can social distance by grabbing candy off of spooky trees throughout the night in their neighborhoods.
Headless Horseman Hayrides, rated one of the scariest haunted houses in the United States, is also setting a prime example of how to practice social distancing during its haunted house this year through a creative solution. It created the “Horseman’s Trail,” which is a drive-through haunted house to replace its normal hayride experience. The designers of this experience know that even though there are rules in place to keep COVID-19 from spreading, the public still needs a little scare in their lives this October.
Pinterest fights stereotyping and cultural appropriation.
Lastly, Pinterest is using its influence to fight stereotypes. This October it added a pin to certain searches like “Day of the Dead” so that people will have ideas of how to celebrate this holiday respectfully. It will also not allow certain searches that appropriate cultures. Pinterest understands that 2020 is a year of inclusivity, but it is also a year with growing sensitivity. Therefore, the company wants to educate the public about certain cultures and their traditions, so that people will be able to understand them better and respect them.
Companies still want to make their bottom lines this Halloween, but they are also listening to public concerns and being creative about how they present their brands. They are creating better relationships with their target audiences by showing that they care more about safety than sales. They are also setting the bar high for other companies to step up, too. Finally, they are encouraging the public that even though we are in a pandemic, Halloween can still involve a lot of treats.