With each season change, retailers, brands and consumers have to adapt a new set of events, traditions and habits to the reality of the coronavirus pandemic.
After a series of summer events that included a virtual kids camp and drive-in movies at 160 stores around the country, Walmart just released its fall lineup, including Halloween-themed virtual programming, contactless trick-or-treating and farmer’s market-style tailgating events.
Through its summertime events, Walmart chief marketing officer William White said the brand was able to “bring communities joy in a year that’s been otherwise tough.” With the arrival of fall, the retailer hopes to continue to achieve that goal.
“For many of us, football tailgates and Halloween parties are cornerstones of a great fall season,” White said. “These additional events will give customers an opportunity to still celebrate the things they love, while staying safe.”
The retail giant is extending its virtual summer camp into fall with a slew of spooky new games and activities, though Neil Patrick Harris is the only returning 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 areas of expertise). Halloween Camp by Walmart’s six episodes include tutorials on how to use Hershey’s candy to make monsters and haunted houses, and craft how-tos for glow-in-the-dark slime, Halloween masks and décor. Harris hosts a virtual trick-or-treating game, which he describes as something like “Truth or Dare” with teams—except that the “truths” are also “dares.”
Walmart’s also hosting free, socially distant and contactless trick-or-treating events at 100 of its stores around the United States, starting on Oct. 15 and extending through the end of the month. The retailer said in a statement that “kids and their parents are invited to dress up,” but did not respond immediately to Adweek’s request for details on the events.
In addition to the spooky stuff, Walmart’s looking to infuse some excitement back into game day in a year when many collegiate sporting events and fan activities look far from normal. For “The Walmart Gameday Marketplace,” college drum lines and cheerleading squads will kick off the Saturday events in six college towns across Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin, which will include local food trucks and school spirit shops in an outdoor, farmer’s market-style tailgating experience.
Walmart’s not the first retailer to announce that it’ll host trick-or-treating events to help families navigate Halloween during a pandemic that’s prompting 75% of consumers to change their plans for celebrating, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. Last week, Lowe’s unveiled a plan for drive-thru trick-or-treating at 1,700 of its stores nationwide from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. local time, Oct. 22-29.
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