The 17 Most Spellbinding Halloween Ad Campaigns, Products and Brand Stunts of 2022

By the pricking of our thumbs, something spooky this way comes

Leaders from Glossier, Shopify, Mastercard and more will take the stage at Brandweek to share what strategies set them apart and how they incorporate the most valued emerging trends. Register to join us this September 23–26 in Phoenix, Arizona.

This Halloween is shaping up to be a big one. Scary big.

S&P Global Market Intelligence forecasts U.S. households are expected to spend a record-breaking $3.2 billion on candy during the spooky season.

And brands are looking to get their slice of the pumpkin pie. Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 23, for example, companies spent $83 million advertising gum and candy on national TV, according to television ad measurement and analytics firm iSpot.tv. That’s a 7% increase compared to the same time last year.

In lieu of our regular Marketing Morsels roundup, Adweek set out on a hunt to fill our metaphorical candy sacks with the most enthralling Halloween ad campaigns and stunts of the year.

Below are our top tricks—er, picks—for the best Halloween ad campaigns, product drops and brand stunts of 2022. But reader beware—you’re in for a scare. Monsters and mayhem lie ahead.

Skittles’ ‘#RealHorror’ Halloween costume ideas

@skittles

#Sweepstakes The scariest costumes get the best candy. Comment below which costume is the most terrifying for a chance to win A #RealHorror Halloween Costume of your own. #Halloween #HalloweenCostume #Halloween2020 No Purch Nec. 50 US/DC, 18+ only. Ends 10/23/22. Rules in bio.

♬ original sound – skittles

Skittles’ addition to the “Bite Size Horror” series in 2017 was pretty scary, but nowhere near as horrifying as this year’s stunt. The candy brand has unleashed the most frightening costumes of the year in a social media video series that invites viewers to vote for the scariest look to win one of their own. The costumes include “Crushed Dreams Middle Manager,” “Friend Who Peaked in High School,” “Relative Who Joined Multi-Level Marketing Scheme” and “Dad at the Beach.”

Jack in the Box’s “final girl” food truck


Three photos featuring the Jack in the Box mascot, Kyle Richards and spooky food trucks.
Jack in the Box

To promote its limited edition Monster Taco, Jack in the Box teamed up with Halloween film franchise star and famed “final girl” Kyle Richards, who appears in the recently released Halloween Ends, billed as the final film in the series. The brand-celebrity duo brought a food truck to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for an event hosted by film screening company Cinespia where fans could sample the tacos and catch a showing of horror classic Carrie.

M&M’s new mascots and tagline make their Halloween debut

M&M’s

M&M’s has a long history of Halloween advertising—and also an irreverent one. Now, with its reimagined set of mascots, including its new addition, Purple, which aim to create a more inclusive tone for the brand alongside its new “for all funkind” tagline, the brand has released a new sort of Halloween campaign. This one aims to be adaptable, representing all the ways people celebrate the holiday, such as dressing up fabulously or marathoning horror movies, and it brings home that messaging with the campaign’s title, “For However You Halloween.”

Harridan’s haunted vodka

For the second year in a row, women-owned craft vodka brand Harridan released a limited-edition collection of 666 bottles of vodka called the “Paranormal Reserve.” The vodka was aged right next to the infamous real-life Annabelle doll that inspired the Conjuring franchise about Ed and Lorraine Warren’s anti-demonic exploits, located at the Occult Museum in Monroe, Conn., presumably absorbing her haunting energy. But sampling that spooky spirit will cost you: 665 of the bottles are priced at $199 each, and the 666th bottle, which was directly in front of Annabelle’s display and comes in a replica of the doll’s encasement, went for a mere $13,000. (It appears to have already been sold to some unfortunate soul.)

Vault City gives fans “Gosebumps”

Vault City Brewing

Also in alarming alcohols, Scottish brewer Vault City aims to trigger “gosebumps” with a lemon-lime German gose beer that glows an eerie, bright green when under UV light. The “Gosebumps: Lemon & Slime” beer aims to “resurrect” the popularity of gose beers across the country by bringing the beverage to fans’ Halloween celebrations.

Heinz’s wholesome and haunting Halloween

Heinz may have won spooky season this year, with two stunts in particular standing out from the crowd.

First, its campaign for the annual rebranding of its ketchup as “Tomato Blood,” featuring Toby, a ridiculously endearing vegetarian vampire played by TikTok personality E.J. Marcus. The PSA-style campaign, which accompanied the Oct. 2 release of AMC’s Interview With the Vampire series, immediately achieved viral success, with the accompanying #fakeblood hashtag reaching 5.7 billion views on TikTok.

Heinz

Heinz’s project for the actual day of Halloween is a little harder to see in person. To promote its haunting Black Garlic Mayo, the brand will open a pop-up store in a mausoleum located in the Boldu-Cretuleasca forest of Transylvania. For those without the heart to face a Romanian forest, the brand launched 3D interactive billboards in several countries allowing fans a shot at winning the rare black condiment.

Heinz

Uber Eats’ actually scary movie—with $1 million in hidden codes

Uber Eats

A truly harrowing installment in this year’s Halloween lineup comes from Uber Eats, which worked with star Keke Palmer to create a nearly four-minute, actually creepy horror film with $1 million in hidden, shoppable discount promo codes courtesy of Uber Eats. Shannon Miller wrote more about it here.

Disney’s famous ride stars will voice your TikToks

@disneyparks

????BREAKING!???? Disney Parks Text-To-Speech Voices have materialized for the Halloween season! ????????????‍☠️ #DisneyParksVoices #Disney #DisneyParks #TextToSpeech #HauntedMansion #PiratesOfTheCaribbean #Halloween

♬ original sound – Disney Parks

Disney Parks is bringing the magic of fan favorite rides to TikTok for Halloween, adding text-to-speech voices inspired by Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. Rather than the usual AI voices, Madame Leota, a “Ghost Host” and a pirate will read caption text for TikTokers’ video creations.

Martha Stewart’s handy candle from Liquid Death

Liquid Death

Canned water brand Liquid Death has teamed up with Martha Stewart to create the Dismembered Moments Luxury Candle, a $58 wax version of a human hand clutching a Liquid Death tallboy. Better watch your fingers while lighting it. Read more from Terry Stanley.

Kit Kat’s neverending candy bowl

Kit Kat

Kit Kat’s Halloween won’t take a break this year—it revealed an apparently magical candy bowl that continually refills itself as trick or treaters take their Kit Kat bars from the receptacle. Paul Hiebert wrote more about the bowl, created by Hershey Company internal creative agency C-Sweet Studio—though how it works is still a mystery.

Elysian’s haunted beer is child’s play

Elysian Brewing

Early in the season, Elysian Brewing released its seasonal brew, a pumpkin witbier called “Chucky: A Killer Wit Beer.” Whether you’re a beer drinker or not, the accompanying film the AB InBev brand released in partnership with USA Network and Syfy is truly the stuff of nightmares—and a scary good time. Read more about it from Shannon Miller.

KFC Spain’s monstrous short film

KFC

KFC Spain, Agency PS21 and Spanish filmmaker Nysu created a silly-scary, camp-filled movie clocking in at 14 minutes. “La Masacre,” which promotes the chain’s pepperoni pizza that uses (gluten-free) fried chicken for a crust instead of a traditional dough crust, shows the films victims being eaten alive by pizza crusts, framing the glutenous dough as 50s horror-film-style movie monsters. Read more and discover additional spooky campaigns from Eva Kis.

FX Networks’ scary-sexy experience

To hype the latest season of American Horror Story, AHS: NYC, FX brought a BDSM boutique to the Big Apple, complete with “safe word” tees, spike-studded apparel, photo ops and more. The shop is open to brave souls through this weekend.

Reese’s sneaky snack sack

Reese’s, which usually goes big for Halloween, stayed a bit more modest this year, but dropped a clever and useful bit of merch for trick-or-treaters. The candy brand’s bag features a secret compartment where kids can slip their favorite (presumably peanut butter-y) scores so that pilfering parents and siblings won’t find the good stuff.

Snickers didn’t actually create its Halloween campaign

In what may be a brand’s dream moment, Snickers’ Halloween moment dropped into its lap as a trend featuring a snickers bar went viral without the brand’s prompting. The “look what I found in my Halloween candy” meme is nothing new, but the most popular installment this year has featured a snickers bar with various other “nefarious” (non-razor blade) items inside.

Other brands joined in, with Xbox jabbing at Playstation and more, and of course Snickers itself riffed on the trend as well:

Burger King makes fans into ghost hunters

Burger King encouraged aspiring ghost hunters to use its app with its “Home of the Ghosts” campaign, which involves the addition of a simulated EMF detector to the app. Fans can use it to locate spirits, and if they’re successful, they can get a free Ghost Pepper Whopper sandwich and small fry for their spooky friend with the purchase of another.

Honorable Mention: Dude With Sign is now dead

The Sawmill Haunt

Dude With Sign,” who has 8 million followers on Instagram thanks to his funny commentary and faux protest messaging on cardboard signs, was recruited by Ottowa haunted house The Sawmill Haunt to promote this year’s experience. But rather than work through the influencer’s primary account, the haunted house teamed up with agencies Wunder and Craft&Crew to create a new, zombiefied influencer, “Dead With Sign,” “who’s just like ‘Dude With Sign,’ only he’s dead” and shares horror hot takes on his sign.