How The Audience Feels About Halloween During The Pandemic

Can Halloween still be fun when every other day of 2020 has already been so scary? To answer that question, ListenFirst examined how the social media audience is responding to Halloween this year, giving marketers an analytics based view of how the holiday will or won’t be different this year, and what Halloween related messaging is still connecting on social media. 

People Care More About Halloween More This Year

There were 8,453,455 Tweets mentioning Halloween during October 1-19, 2020, which was 45% more Tweets than mentioned Halloween between October 1-19, 2019. Additionally, during October 1-19, 2020 sentiment around Halloween has been 45% Positive and 11% Negative compared to sentiment being 39% Positive and 12% Negative during the same time last year. 

In a topsy-turvy world, people are looking for all kinds of reasons to celebrate.

There Is More Fear Of Trick-or-Treating 

Between October 1-19, 2020, 9% of the Tweets discussing Trick-or-Treating expressed the emotion of Fear, up from only 4% during the same time last year. Many Tweets spoke to the public health concerns, for example pointing out that “public health advice is to NOT go trick-or-treating this year”. 

However at the same time, the social audience is talking more about Trick-or-Treating and is actually more positive about the activity.  Between October 1-19, 2020 there were 374,888 Tweets mentioning Trick-or-Treating with sentiment around those Tweets being 42% Positive and 16% Negative compared to 298,836 Tweets last year that were 38% Positive and 18% Negative. The reason people are talking about Trick-or-Treating more is because they’re discussing safe ways to participate in the activity, for instance a socially distant Trick or Treat Cavalcade or using kitchen tongs to distribute candy to kids.

Masks Will Be An Even Bigger Deal This Halloween 

Halloween was already the one day of the year where people already wanted to wear masks, and it looks that’s only going to be more true during the pandemic. There were 38,730 Tweets mentioning both Halloween and Mask between October 1-19, 2020, a 75% increase from the 22,107 Tweets that mentioned both Halloween and Mask between October 1-19, 2019. 

Don’t Expect A Lot Of Coronavirus Related Costumes This Year 

Looking at the 100 Tweets mentioning Halloween Costumes that generated the most responses between October 1-19, 2020, not a single Tweet either showed a coronavirus related costume or even talked about wearing one. More popular was celebrity throwback outfits, such as Lil Uzi Vert dressed as Frankenstein’s Monster, a rat costume you can’t unsee, pitches for Riverdale or Ratchet cosplay, and people dressing up their dogs. The audience is looking for escapism in their Halloween outfits, meaning the opposite of direct references to the pandemic. The one current events story that has taken off as a Halloween costume is a Mike Pence/fly wig or just a fly costume, which sold out the night of the debate. 

Snack Food Posts About Halloween Performing On Par With Last Year 

Looking at the top 200 performing social media posts by 764 CPG Food brands between October 1-19, 2020, there were 19 social media posts that mention Halloween, with those posts averaging 9,299 responses. A Nutella Instagram post about breadsticks and pretzels with chocolate dip generated 26,259 responses and was the best performing of these Halloween posts. In comparison, among the top 200 best performing posts by CPG Food brands between October 1-19, 2019; 7 of those posts mentioned Halloween, with the Halloween themed posts averaging 9,272 responses. Even if less people will be Trick-or-Treating this year, the social media audience is still just as interested in Halloween related posts about snacks. 


While Halloween is going to look a little different this year, online at least, it doesn’t have to. The social media audience is looking for Halloween related content that reinforces a sense of normalcy to the holiday, and gives them a night off from the gloom and doom. 

Does your brand want more social listening insights around holidays during the pandemic? Request a ListenFirst Demo today!   

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