With each change of season, retailers, brands and consumers are forced to adapt a number of new events, traditions and habits to the reality of the coronavirus pandemic.
After a number of summer events that included a virtual kids camp and drive-in movies in 160 stores across the country, Walmart just released its fall roster, including virtual Halloween programming, contactless trick-or-treating, and tailgating farm-style events.
During its summer events, William White, Walmart’s chief marketing officer, said the brand was “able to bring joy to communities in an otherwise difficult year”. With the arrival of autumn, the retailer hopes to continue to achieve this goal.
“For many of us, soccer hatchbacks and Halloween parties are cornerstones of a great fall season,” said White. “These additional events give customers a chance to celebrate the things they love while being safe.”
The retail giant is adding a ton of scary new games and activities to its virtual summer camp well into the fall, though Neil Patrick Harris is the only recurring celebrity cameo for this season’s episodes. (For the summer camp, Drew Barrymore, LeBron James, Idina Menzel and Todd Oldham gave educational tutorials in their respective fields). The six episodes of Halloween Camp by Walmart include tutorials on using Hershey’s candy to make monsters and haunted houses, as well as instructions on how to make glow-in-the-dark slime, Halloween masks, and decor. Harris hosts a virtual trick-or-treating game that he and teams refer to as “truth or dare” – with the exception that the “truths” are also “the daring ones”.
Walmart is also hosting free, socially distant, and contactless trick-or-treating events at 100 of its stores in the United States, starting October 15 and extending through the end of the month. The retailer said in a statement that “children and their parents are invited to dress up,” but did not immediately respond to Adweek’s request for details about the events.
On top of the spooky stuff, Walmart wants to bring the excitement back to game day in a year where a lot of college sporting events and fan activities look anything but normal. For The Walmart Gameday Marketplace, college drumlines and cheerleading teams will kick off the Saturday events in six college cities in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin, which include local food trucks and outdoor school spirit shops, tailgating Farmer style experience.
Walmart is not the first retailer to announce that it is hosting trick-or-treating events to help families navigate Halloween during a pandemic that, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation, is causing 75% of consumers to change their plans for partying. Last week, Lowe’s unveiled a trick or treating plan for 1,700 of its stores across the country from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time, October 22-29.
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