Halloween is one of those commercial shopping holidays that are easier to take for granted than to actually understand. You may not be aware of this, but Halloween is an ancient holiday that did not have any supernatural connotations; it was mostly a day to celebrate the changing of the seasons in the Northern Hemisphere, which for farmers meant getting busy on harvesting many crops. Since October 31 comes just before the All Saints feast of the Roman Catholic faith, which in Mexican folklore is celebrated as the Day of the Dearly Departed, one can see how a mystical and supernatural theme developed around the holiday.
The Importance of Halloween as a Shopping Holiday
The commercial appeal of Halloween is undeniable; it just happens to fall on day in which temperatures start to drop and people start thinking about the upcoming holiday season. This is a day when the entirely family can have fun in silly and wholesome ways, and it is highly conducive to spending a few dollars on gifts, treats, costumes, decorations, and other items that we would normally not think about during the rest of the year. Statistics compiled by the National Retail Federation of the United States clearly illustrate the shopping significance of Halloween:
- Total spending during Halloween 2020 was about $8 billion, and this was at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and before vaccines were available.
- The figure above represented a 10% decrease from 2019. It is safe to assume that Halloween spending will swiftly recover once the pandemic is fully under control.
- More than half of American households decorate their homes for Halloween. This does not exclusively consist of elaborate outdoor displays; some families spend on modest indoor decorations such as fun centerpieces to place on the dining table.
- Halloween is one of those shopping holidays that reflect economic sentiment and prosperity. In 2016, for example, 171 million Americans participated compared to just 148 million in 2020.
Something else that is quite interesting about Halloween is that its celebration has been on the rise in Mexico as a fun prelude to the Day of the Dead and All Saints Day; at the same time, some of the traditions associated with these two Christian holidays are being adopted by many American families.
The Halloween bottom line for retailers is that the holiday presents a great opportunity to reap profits and connect with shoppers through various strategies, and one of them involves using adequate packaging. Before we go into detail as to how your packaging can augment the Halloween shopping experience, let’s review more information provided by the National Retail Federation.
What Do Halloween Shoppers Spend On?
There was a time when Halloween shopping was mostly centered on costumes, candy, and decorations. Over time, this has increased to comfort items and playful gifts that can be enjoyed by families, loved ones, and friends. Pumpkin-scented candles and sweet perfumes are part of this trend. At the same time, we are seeing more Day of the Dead imagery being sold as well as religious items for the All Saints feast.
An interesting retail trend that has developed in recent years involves stores holding Halloween sales for products that are not necessarily themed around the holiday; for example, a brick-and-mortar electronics shop may offer discounts on smartphone accessories during the final week of October, and this does not really have much to do with Halloween except for the time of year and store decorations.
The fact that Halloween started as a seasonal harvest holiday has not completely gone away. Halloween gift baskets with fruits, snacks, candles, and treats are great presents for this holiday and for the season in general. At Mid-Atlantic Premier Packaging Supplies, we always notice increased demand for Cello and other materials to make gift baskets in seasonal colors in September. Our 40 by 100 Cello roll adorned with a cute Jack O’Lantern pattern is very popular, and the same goes for our Halloween Low-D Ameritote bags.
Naturally, everyone wants to know about popular costumes; for 2021, we are bound to see children dressed as:
- Marvel superheroes
During previous years, popular costumes had been trendier. With the exception of Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars films, which generally set Halloween costume trends, we are seeing a return to traditional costumes such as ghosts and vampires. Adult costumes are always trendy, and this is why we are seeing coronavirus costumes along with sexy nurses as well as Marvel villains. Adults dressed as former U.S. President Donald Trump will also continue to be seen at Halloween parties in 2021.
Getting Into the Halloween Retail Spirit
When it comes to Halloween, not everything needs to be spooky, scary, or supernatural. If anything, retailers should treat Halloween as the jump-off point for the holiday shopping season. Even if your physical or e-commerce store does not normally offer Halloween items, it would not hurt to add one or two in late October.
A wine shop, for example, can make a special display stocked with a few bottles of pumpkin-flavored wine, which any vintner will advice you to only stock from October to early January because it will rarely sell beyond this period. An alternative to actually stocking pumpkin wine would be to set up a Halloween display with bottles of Chardonnay plus other ingredients to make a pumpkin spice spritzer; we are talking about rum, cinnamon sticks, club soda, and syrup. Such a display should also include the recipe printed on paper, but this can also be published on the shop’s website.
The advantage of the aforementioned wine display is that it can be easily adjusted in terms of decoration throughout the holiday shopping season. A few skeletons, bats, and Jack O’Lanterns can be used for Halloween, but they can be replaced by nice pumpkins for Thanksgiving, and later switched off with snowflakes, reindeer, Santa Claus hats, and other decorations. At some point after New Year’s Day, the display can be taken away and stored for the following season.
Staying with our example of a wine shop, packaging is another detail that would be conducive to getting into the Halloween spirit. Most wine shops stick with Kraft paper wine bags throughout the year; this is a safe move because such bags are recyclable and biodegradable, but it would not hurt to switch colors for Halloween and the rest of the holiday season. You can’t go wrong with black for Halloween, but if you want packaging that would be appropriate until after Thanksgiving, you may want to go with burnt orange before switching to red, green, and white for Christmas.
If you manage a brick-and-mortar or e-commerce shop, you do not necessarily need to switch your packaging colors and go full Halloween for a period that does not extend past October. We have noticed that many of our clients stick with neutral colors such as white and Kraft for their boxes, bags, and wrapping paper, but they take the additional step of ordering product and merchandise labels with custom designs for the occasion. A Halloween-themed label may feature the logo of the store along with a ghost, vampire, or skull, and it can be easily affixed to neutral packaging. These small details are subconsciously appreciated by shoppers, and they can go a long way in terms of building customer loyalty.
If you think about it, you would only need three rolls of seasonal labels for the year: One for Halloween, one for Thanksgiving, and one for the rest of the holiday season. If you need help with ideas on how to customize your merchandise labels, please get in touch with our office so that you can discuss this matter with members of our design team. We love helping clients with their design endeavors, particularly when we learn that their packaging design has translated into greater sales and customer satisfaction.
Let Us Help You With Your Halloween And Holiday Season Packaging
Don’t let the Halloween shopping holiday catch you off-guard. If for some reason you did not plan for Halloween, don’t worry, you still have the rest of the holiday season to take advantage of, but you will want to make Halloween a part of your business operations.
Many clients who have come to us looking for Halloween packaging in a hurry end up preparing their packaging for the holiday season, and this is always a good move. With four decades of experience as a packaging supplier, we have seen quite a few of our clients reach impressive sales goals through smart packaging strategies. If you have any questions about the products in our catalog or about the ordering process, please feel free to contact us.