Activation Gallery: Halloween

Spectaculars from Mars Inc. and Hershey are expected in stores every September and October leading up to Halloween, and this year was no different despite the pandemic. Those types of displays and many others caught the eyes of Path to Purchase Institute editors this fall. Here, we present a sampling of the activity at retail. Institute members can see many more examples of Halloween activations in the image vault at


Grocery store? No. Mass merchant? No. These shippers from Hershey and Mars Inc. occupied the power aisle leading in from the entrance at home center Lowe’s.

At Kroger, Halloween-themed spectaculars from Hershey Co. merchandise Kit Kat, Hershey’s and Reese’s confectionery SKUs.

Mars Inc. commanded attention in Walmart stores throughout October with a Halloween pallet train stocking seasonal SKUs from a variety of confectionery brands. The train was outfitted with an elaborate “Flaunt Your Haunt” header resembling a haunted mansion and depicting M&M’s characters.

Mars Inc. offered Amazon shoppers a $6 Prime Video credit with a $30 purchase of candy for Halloween. A display ad spotted within in early October presented the incentive under a “Stream & Scream” message. A “Learn More” button linked to a seasonal storefront proclaiming “movies are better with [an M&M’s character]” and offering “add to cart” buttons for variety-mix bags of confectionery.

Ferrara Candy Co. staged a showcase spotlighting its Trolli, Sweetarts, Laffy Taffy, Nerds, Black Forest and Brach’s confectionery brands. Multiple ads on the retailer’s home page linked to the destination. One banner ad activated the manufacturer’s licensing deal with Sony Pictures’ “Ghostbusters” by inviting consumers to text in to play an “AR Ghostbusting experience.” The augmented reality mobile game let players trap ghosts superimposed on a live environment and enter a “Haunted Candy Haunt” sweepstakes awarding “Ghostbusters” DVDs and digital film codes. Meanwhile, a leaderboard carousel ad spotlighted Brach’s for “candy corn season.” Brach’s also earned secondary merchandising space in Walmart stores with an account-specific, seasonal pallet display.

Sam’s Club teamed up with Nestle Purina to invite shoppers to “celebrate every occasion” with the pet brand and “pick up Halloween treats!” at the warehouse club using a slew of digital activity including dedicated display and leaderboard ads within A “Shop Now” button directed to a dedicated e-commerce shop promoting dog and cat treats.

Packages of Mars candy brands enjoyed prime real estate at Ahold Delhaize’s Stop & Shop on an endcap outfitted in an M&M’s-branded, Halloween-themed header tying into the season by inviting shoppers to “Make it a monster movie night” while depicting a family watching a scary movie at home. An M&M’s floorstand was positioned next to the endcap, communicating a “Be the best house on the block” message.

Barkbox’s Bark “Tails From The Boneyard” dog toys enjoyed secondary merchandising space via endcaps at Target.

Sam’s Club ran a Halloween-themed digital promotion with Tyson Foods spanning multiple email and display ads that directed to a dedicated e-commerce page within the retailer’s website. The site touted select products from the manufacturer’s flagship, State Fair, Ball Park and Hillshire brands.

Nestle’s Nestle Pure Life gained secondary space at ShopRite via case stacks stocking Halloween-themed, limited-edition bottles. Accompanying header cards encouraged shoppers to “collect all 8” while a tearpad offered free “spooktastic stickers.”

Revlon earned a prime spot in Walmart’s Action Alley with custom pallet displays stocking seasonal SKUs from Sinful Colors under a “Halloween Beauty” message.

At Target, shelf strips affixed to endcaps plugged Hershey Co.’s Hershey’s Kisses “Vampire” chocolates as new at the mass merchant.

Mondelez International’s Nabisco offered Walmart shoppers Halloween-themed ideas for treats such as “jack-o-lantern cookie balls” made with Oreos, “fruity skeleton dip” for serving with Wheat Thins, “caramel apple on a Ritz” and “funny face candy corn cookies” made with Nutter Butter on floorstands that were arranged together on a pallet in the retailer’s Action Alley. The floorstands invited shoppers to get more ideas on Pinterest’s mobile app.