A closer look at Halloween 2020

Sharing the National Confectioners Association’s perspective on the year’s sweetest holiday
NRF Contributor

This year’s Halloween season is shaping up to be one to remember. NRF spoke with Christopher Gindlesperger, senior vice president of public affairs and communications at the National Confectioners Association, about how Halloween is happening in 2020.

As we look ahead toward Halloween, many people automatically think of candy. How important is this holiday to your industry?

The Halloween season is our Super Bowl! It accounts for about $4.6 billion in sales annually. We understand that Halloween will look different this year depending on how state and local officials develop safety guidance, but one thing is for sure — Halloween is happening, and chocolate and candy are an essential element of celebrating the season.

Christopher Gindlesperger
Christopher Gindlesperger,
​​​​​​​Senior VP of Public Affairs and Communications,
​​​​​​​National Confectioners Association

Sweet treats have an uncanny ability to boost your mood and bring a smile to your face. How are people finding “Candy Moments” during the pandemic?

It’s true — consumers are looking for a moment of joy in this uncertain and unusual year. And chocolate and candy play a special role in facilitating that. The confectionery category has been resilient in this COVID-19 environment, as consumers are really embracing the fun and unique nature of our member companies’ iconic products. In fact, sales of chocolate and candy are up about 4 percent since the middle of March.

Like many holidays this year, consumers are adapting to celebrate Halloween in new ways. What can we expect for Halloween 2020?

There is no denying Halloween will look different this year, but consumers and shoppers are making it clear that they are not planning to sit this year out. Consumer excitement has jumped 17 percent since July, with 80 percent of people now saying that they will find creative and safe ways to celebrate the Halloween season this year. From robots to candy slides and zip lines, there is an overwhelming amount of imagination on display this month — and it’s driving the national narrative in a way that showcases consumer optimism and excitement for a fun and unique holiday.

I’d also love to give a shout out to our retail partners, many of which are in the NRF membership. The strong relationships our member companies have with our retail partners has been key to making this season a success for the industry thus far. Halloween chocolate and candy sales are up, which speaks to retailer, manufacturer and consumer beliefs that Halloween is happening and that it is turning out to be a great season even if we have to celebrate a little differently this year.

Halloween insights

Check out our other Halloween resources for more information here.

Consumers have indicated that holidays and special events actually mean more to them as a result of the pandemic. What are some ways consumers can safely celebrate Halloween?

Hyperlocal decision-making will determine whether this Halloween season means trick-or-treating with the appropriate safety precautions, more candy bowl moments at home with family and close friends, or just more time for celebrating the season in October.

We at NCA are working with top public health experts, nutrition professionals and the CDC to help take the guesswork out of Halloween. AlwaysATreat.com/HalloweenCentral hosts ideas for celebrating a socially distanced but not socially awkward Halloween season. Virtual costume parties, reverse trick-or-treating to delight your neighbors, or trick-or-treat in your own home are just a few ways to celebrate the season this year.

Can you shed some light on the trends you are seeing?

The macro trend has been the shift in the conversation from “if” Halloween is happening to “how” people are going to celebrate safely. And that trend has been driven by the fact that the activities associate with celebrating the Halloween season are a natural fit for all the safety guidance consumers are hearing from the public health community — outside, well-ventilated areas with the appropriate social distancing, masks and good hand hygiene are essential, and so on.

There are a couple of key data points that back up consumers’ strong desire to gain a sense of normalcy in what has been an abnormal year:

  • 66 percent of people say they will trick-or-treat this year, whether handing out the candy or going out with their children. (NCA)
  • 74 percent of millennial moms and young parents say that Halloween 2020 is more important than ever. (The Harris Poll)
  • 80 percent of the general public and 90 percent of millennial moms and young parents say they can’t imagine Halloween without chocolate and candy, and that trick-or-treating is irreplaceable. (The Harris Poll)

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