Milestone events have come and gone in 2020 with minimal fuss and it seems Halloween and Bonfire Night were no exception. Typically the domain of those with children, these households engaged more with these events this year, but there was a lower participation in general with government restrictions advising against trick or treating and an absence of communal firework displays.
Just over a third (36%) of consumers never celebrate Halloween but were joined by a further 27% who opted not to celebrate in 2020. As consumers were encouraged to ‘stick and treat’ i.e. stay at home, activities were generally limited to consuming food/drink at home (8% of consumers), buying Halloween decorations (8%) and/or watching a scary movie (7%). Trick or treating was limited to just 2% of our nationally representative sample, extending to 5% amongst those households with children.
Similarly, 29% of consumers chose not to celebrate bonfire night this year, in addition to the 42% that never celebrate, leaving less than one in three marking the occasion. This increased to 44% of households with children, with many (14%) acknowledging their plans had to change due to the restrictions. Most common activities for those families that did choose to celebrate were food/drink to celebrate at home (10%), buying sparklers to use in the garden (10%), a firework display in the garden (7%) and going to a drive-through fireworks display (3%).
Whilst far from the scale of the US, Halloween had been gaining traction as an event in UK retail in recent years and we’ve spotted lots of themed NPD, with M&S Frankencolin the caterpillar cake being a personal favourite. However – in line with the ongoing theme for 2020 – retailers recognised that these events would be downplayed this year and we observed less elaborate instore displays across the grocery trade.