Halloween Trends 2023: Tips for Earning Media Placements

As the warm days of summer gradually give way to the crisp embrace of autumn, our thoughts turn to a season of enchantment and excitement ‚ÄĒ Halloween! While it might seem a tad premature to start discussing the eerie delights of the spooky season in August, savvy PR professionals know that the key to a truly magical campaign lies in meticulous planning and strategic foresight. With the bewitching holiday just around the corner, now is the perfect time for PR pros to summon their creativity, armed with insights from the¬†National Retail Federation (NRF).
Last year’s Halloween celebrations demonstrated a remarkable resurgence in enthusiasm, setting the stage for an even more spellbinding affair this year. Let’s explore how PR professionals can use the NRF’s invaluable insights to craft campaigns that will leave their audiences both thrilled and spellbound.

Halloween Participation: A Ghostly Comeback

The figures are in, and the verdict is out ‚ÄĒ Halloween participation returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2022! According to the NRF’s survey, a staggering 69% of consumers had their cauldrons bubbling and celebrated the holiday. This marks an increase from the previous year’s 65% and is in line with the 68% reported in 2019. The increase of participation resulted in a record-breaking $10.6 billion in total Halloween spending, trumping the previous year’s $10.1 billion. For PR professionals, these numbers hold promising insights for what lies ahead in 2023.

PR and comms professionals can look to a variety of branded content solutions that will help drive brand awareness during this season. Guaranteed Media Placement tactics like the MAT release and other content distribution options can add a layer of paid media strategy that will help teams beat their competitors in terms of online market share and traffic and engagement.

[Read More: What is a MAT Release?]

Crafting branded content campaigns that cast a spell

Inspired by the widespread Halloween fever that swept the nation in 2022, PR professionals can craft strategic campaigns that cater to how consumers intend to enjoy this festive holiday. From the time-honored tradition of handing out candy (67%) and the joy of home decoration (51%) to the playful realm of dressing up in elaborate costumes (47%) and the artistry of pumpkin carving (44%), the avenue for creative engagement knows no bounds.
  • Spooky visual storytelling. Embrace the visual nature of Halloween by conjuring captivating imagery and videos that showcase the delight of candy-giving, the mystical transformation of homes into haunted wonderlands and the allure of fantastical costumes. Visual-forward tactics like infographics, videos and listicles would be a perfect fit for this time of year.
  • Engaging social media. Younger consumers, particularly those under 25, are turning to platforms like Instagram and TikTok for costume inspiration. Create viral challenges, share user-generated content and collaborate with influencers to give your campaign the supernatural boost it needs. Be aware of trying too hard to go viral though. Here are some guidelines on how to add your brand any social trend.
  • Early haunting savings.¬†Recognizing that nearly half (47%) of Halloween enthusiasts start their shopping expeditions as early as September, you can brew up campaigns that materialize ahead of the seasonal frenzy. Reveal eerie early-bird discounts, spine-tingling time-sensitive offers and exclusive previews that solidify your brand as the prime Halloween haunt.

[Read more: Get ahead on the 2023 Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday trends!]

Costumes: A hauntingly popular trend

As Halloween enthusiasts prepare to don their most imaginative costumes, you can take cues from the NRF’s 2022 costume rankings to guide campaign strategies that resonate with audience segments.
  • Children’s carnival of imagination.¬†With Spiderman, princesses, witches and ghosts reigning supreme in 2022, PR pros can tailor their messaging to resonate with young hearts and playful spirits. Collaborations with children’s content creators or character-themed giveaways could be a bewitching approach.
  • Adults’ enchanting attire.¬†The adults are ready to cast their spell as well, with witches, vampires and ghosts leading the charge last year. Crafting narratives around self-expression, empowerment and embracing one’s inner fantastical persona could strike a chord with the grown-up Halloween enthusiasts.
  • Pets join the spooky soiree.¬†The fur-tastic trend of dressing up pets is on the rise. Capitalize on this adorable phenomenon by organizing pet-friendly events, showcasing pet costumes on social media and partnering with animal-centric influencers to reach a broader audience.

[Read more: Explore the 2023 Holiday PR Trends!]

Understanding Generation Z’s Halloween celebrations: Insights and strategies for 2023

As the anticipation for spooky celebrations grows, you have a golden opportunity to conjure captivating campaigns that resonate with Generation Z. The NRF sheds light on the unique ways this tech-savvy generation celebrated Halloween in 2022, offering invaluable insights that can shape your strategies for the upcoming 2023 festivities. Let’s unravel the three key ways Gen Z embraced Halloween last year and explore how PR professionals can channel this knowledge to craft enchanting campaigns that will help hit any metrics and results your brands want.
  1. Reawakening the Halloween spirit.¬†While the specter of COVID-19 dampened Halloween festivities for many, it’s the young adults aged 18 to 24 who have rekindled the Halloween flame with unmatched fervor. Emerging from the shadows of the pandemic, this age group has surged ahead in reviving the traditions of the holiday. You can harness this resurgence by crafting campaigns that tap into the enthusiasm of Gen Z, showcasing the thrill of dressing up, exploring haunted houses and embracing the time-honored tradition of Halloween parties. The return to social gatherings presents a canvas on which PR campaigns can paint vibrant images of camaraderie, celebration and the joy of shared experiences.


  2. Social media sorcery. It’s no surprise that Gen Z turns to social media as a wellspring of inspiration. The NRF reveals that platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest hold a mystical allure for this age group when it comes to sourcing Halloween costume ideas. This insight is a beacon guiding you to create TikTok-worthy campaigns that resonate with Generation Z’s affinity for bite-sized, visually captivating content. Consider weaving TikTok challenges into your Halloween strategy, encouraging users to share their unique costume creations and spooky endeavors. Engage with influencers who wield the magic of social media to amplify your brand’s presence and cast a spell of excitement over the upcoming Halloween season. Learn how a branded content agency can help your PR team with your Instagram strategy here.


  3. A multichannel enchantment.¬†Generation Z is not confined to a single realm of shopping; they seamlessly navigate physical and digital retail. While specialty Halloween and costume stores remain their top haunt for acquiring spooky essentials, this generation’s affinity for online shopping offers you a realm of possibilities. Consider creating integrated campaigns that bridge the gap between in-store and online experiences. Invite them on a journey that begins with exploring costumes in a physical store, leading them to engaging online experiences where they can further customize their Halloween fantasies. By blending these worlds, you can create an immersive narrative that captures Generation Z’s fascination with both the tangible and the virtual.

10 additional cauldron-stirring tips for elevating your Halloween PR campaigns

Here are some extra insights and tips to ensure your Halloween campaign casts a spell of success:
  1. Storytelling with a twist.¬†Elevate your campaign by crafting a compelling narrative that captures the essence of Halloween while aligning with your brand’s message. Consider incorporating elements of mystery, suspense or unexpected twists to engage your audience and keep them intrigued.
  2. Localize your campaigns. Tailor your campaigns to resonate with specific local cultures and traditions. Halloween is celebrated differently in various regions, so understanding and incorporating these nuances can create a stronger connection with your target audience. Consider different targeting options like Guaranteed Engagement and Guaranteed Section Fronts.
  3. Collaborate with influencers. Leverage the power of social media influencers who have a strong Halloween presence. Collaborate with influencers who align with your brand values and encourage them to create authentic and engaging content that showcases your products or services in a creative and relatable way.
  4. Interactive experiences. Engage your audience with interactive experiences such as virtual haunted house tours, costume contests or user-generated content campaigns. Encourage participation and creativity, and reward participants with exclusive offers or prizes.
  5. Embrace user-generated content. Encourage your audience to share their Halloween experiences, costumes and decorations on social media using a branded hashtag. Curate and showcase the best user-generated content on your platforms, fostering a sense of community and increasing brand engagement.
  6. Charity and social responsibility.¬†Consider tying your Halloween campaign to a charitable cause or social responsibility initiative. Donate a portion of sales to a relevant charity, organize a community clean-up event or support local causes to showcase your brand’s commitment to making a positive impact.
  7. Cross-promotions. Collaborate with other brands or businesses for cross-promotions that enhance the Halloween experience for consumers. Joint promotions, giveaways or co-hosted events can expand your reach and introduce your brand to new audiences.
  8. Spooky customer engagement. Infuse a touch of Halloween spirit into your customer engagement efforts. Personalize emails, social media posts and customer service interactions with Halloween-themed content, visuals and offers.
  9. Post-Halloween engagement. Extend the life of your campaign by engaging your audience even after Halloween. Share user-generated content, recap the highlights of the holiday and encourage discussions about favorite moments or costumes.
  10. Plan for the unexpected. Be prepared to adapt your campaign in response to any unexpected circumstances or trends that may arise. Flexibility in your planning ensures that you can make the most of emerging opportunities.
With Halloween’s magic looming just around the corner, PR professionals have an opportunity to weave captivating narratives that resonate with consumers’ deepest desires for creativity, connection and celebration. As the NRF’s data showcases, last year’s surge in Halloween participation and spending provides a cauldron of inspiration for crafting campaigns that tap into the enchantment of the season. By aligning strategies with the trends and insights from the NRF, you can ensure that your campaigns are not only a treat for your target audience but also a success in the competitive holiday landscape.

Let’s start planning your seasonal branded campaigns now!

As you prepare captivating Halloween campaigns, don’t miss out on a crucial tool to guide your other campaign planning.¬†Download our 2024 Holiday & Editorial Calendar today¬†and start mapping out your campaigns for the upcoming holiday season. This comprehensive calendar will provide you with a roadmap for navigating the spooky delights of Halloween and beyond, ensuring that you’re ahead of the game and ready to cast your PR magic!

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