Halloween Unmasks New Ways to Celebrate Through Play

halloween-trendsSeptember 24, 2020 | With some states advising against trick-or-treating this Halloween due to the real-life monster (COVID-19), according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) latest annual survey, families are finding new ways to safely keep the celebration going.

Halloween spending is predicted to only reach $8.05 billion (down from $8.78 billion in 2019), but the NRF reports consumers are expected to spend more on season décor, costumes, and other items that encourage at-home activities ($92.12 on average compared with $86.27 in 2019). For today’s toymakers and brand owners, this creates new opportunities to present their products as safe and fun alternatives.

"While trick-or-treating might be off the table for many families, they can still partake in a lot of the playful festivities that encourage creativity and togetherness," said Adrienne Appell, leading trends expert and senior director of strategic communications at The Toy Association. "Whether it’s playing a ghastly good game together or designing your own ghoulish décor, we encourage families to use this time of social distancing to build some new Halloween traditions together and most importantly, celebrate safely."

Classic Costuming

While character-driven costumes typically maintain a stronghold on the category, not surprisingly, top predicted costumes for 2020 echo the lack of new movie releases resulting from the pandemic. Instead, consumers are expected to focus on more generic characters (princess, ghost, witch, vampire) along with evergreen character brands such as Spider-Man, Batman, and Frozen’s Anna and Elsa. Families can also use required face coverings as an excuse to decorate some Halloween-ready face masks using the SnapStyle Printable Face Mask, created by Wow! Stuff and distributed by Skyrocket Toys.

Safe Celebrations

With families forced to think outside the box about how they can safely celebrate Halloween, many are sticking to seasonal activities that ensure social distancing, such as haunting their homes together with decorations, doing craft projects, and more. Kids can construct black cats out of compound or paint monster-themed pumpkins with Crayola, create gross-out candy with Thames & Kosmos’ Gross Gummy Candy Lab, or build a LEGO Hidden Side set to explore a world of AR haunted spirits without ever leaving home.

Horrifyingly Fun Games

Although monster bashes might be on hold this year, there are still plenty of games to get in the Halloween spirit. With Smart Games’ Ghost Hunters, kids can play solo as they try to light-up all the ghosts on the board in a strategic puzzle game. Families can also prepare to watch their favorite Halloween programming with licensed games such as Ravensburger’s Disney Hocus Pocus: The Game or Hasbro’s Monopoly Game: Ghostbusters Edition.

For more play ideas to get in the Halloween spirit or inspire kids to be creative year-round, visit TheGeniusofPlay.org.