Halloween 2020

Halloween safety guidelines for American families include COVID-19 risk level map, as day of reckoning looms for candy sector

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: GettyImages
Pic: GettyImages

Related tags Halloween Candy

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept American consumers in – or close to – the home for most of the year. Now with weeks until Halloween - one of the biggest sales drivers for the chocolate, candy, gum and mints industry - families are preparing for scaled back festivities.

According to new research by Accenture​, this comes as 80% of Americans expressed fears about the impact the COVID-19 crisis will have on the economy – and for 62% of Americans, the impact it will have on their personal job security. This, coupled with the continuing discomfort with public spaces (33% of Americans), will likely continue to keep people mostly at home.

Social distancing guidelines

Americans intending to celebrate Halloween this year can access a color-coded COVID-19 risk level map – provided by the Harvard Global Health Institute – that details COVID risk level by county, across the country, as well as new Halloween Safety Guidelines for the 2020 season, in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) social distancing guidelines.

With many at home this Halloween and more shifting to digital channels – some for the first time - the potential audience for innovative brand experiences that extend beyond pure entertainment is that much higher -- Laura Gurski, North America lead, Consumer Goods & Services, Accenture

The guidelines and map are now live on Halloween2020.org​, with other features including social distancing suggestions and celebration alternatives, a Safe House Pledge and printable certificate.

We are on a mission to ensure the safest Halloween celebration possible this year and want to make sure families and communities have access to the best, up-to-date guidance that prioritizes community safety​,” said Kevin Johnson, Halloween & Costume Association Chairman and Chief Excitement Officer at Elope.

The color-coded map developed by the Harvard Global Health Institute, along with our guidelines and additional website resources, can help ensure families find fun, yet safe ways to celebrate this season​.”

Laura Gurski​, North America lead, Consumer Goods & Services, Accenture, said: “It’s clear that consumption is looking very different than it did just months ago. And with that shift, the crisis has brought with it, a reckoning for brands of all kinds.”

“With many at home this Halloween and more shifting to digital channels – some for the first time - the potential audience for innovative brand experiences that extend beyond pure entertainment is that much higher.

“And confectionery brands are responding. From creating apps to support a virtual trick-or-treating experiences, to switching manufacturing to make individually wrapped treats, brands are already seeing this moment of unprecedented disruption as an opportunity to grow revenue and attract new consumers."

Familiar feeling

While Halloween will definitely look different this year, people are still longing for that familiar feeling only annual holidays can bring and are looking for guidance on safe ways to celebrate, said Chuck Raup, President, US, The Hershey Company and National Confectioners Association board member.

Halloween is more important than ever this year as we navigate the new normal together and are seeking opportunities to celebrate safely. We’re inspired by the public-private partnerships and groups coming together that all have a shared value of celebrating Halloween safely​,” he said.

In addition to the official social distancing guidelines and the interactive map, Halloween2020.org visitors will have the opportunity to take the Safe House Pledge. A printable certificate can then be displayed providing assurance to neighbors that proper safety measures are in place.

'Little luxuries'

Gurski said that during the pandemic, Accenture research found consumers have been 'treating' themselves by buying ‘little luxuries’.

“With a dip in trick-or-treating traffic as many families switch celebrations from the street to the comfort and safety of their homes, snacking on candy – even if it’s to treat themselves, rather than to hand out to others – is one tradition they don’t need to forgo,” ​she said.

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