min read

This is Halloween (according to Gen Z)

Written by
Published on
September 24, 2021
Last updated
January 18, 2024

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They might be considered too old for trick-or-treating, but Gen Z students are big fans of the spooky season. Here’s what they’ll be getting up to this October 31st…

Scary movies

Like holiday movies at Christmas time, it seems only right that scary movies are watched on Halloween night. Love them or loathe them, thrillers and horror movies are how 62% of Gen Z students like to celebrate Halloween - with 26% saying it's actually their favorite way to enjoy the spooky occasion. 

As a popular activity for students to do with their peers, sharing interactive content via your brand’s website or social accounts is likely to encourage a ton of shares and bolster click-through rates. Why not try posting a Halloween movie tick-list, or relatable spooky memes to excite students in the weeks leading up to the main event?

Hocus Pocus Halloween movie set up

Of course, the best movie nights involve a cool, cosy set-up - and students looking to host a movie night will be on the lookout for the right decorations to set the scene. Think low lighting, pillows and blankets, candy cauldrons, goblets - anything to create the ultimate set-up fit for purpose.

Halloween movie nights are also the perfect occasion for food and drink brands to leverage - because who really watches a movie without snacks? For takeout brands, a special Halloween deal for students will go down a treat (no tricks needed in this case). 

Halloween parties

For the older cohort of Gen Z, trick-or-treating is off the table - but parties are most definitely on. We’ve found that at least half of students like to attend or throw a Halloween party. College parties are especially big around this time of year, and you can guarantee that most students will want to go big with their costumes.

Halloween Day of the Dead make up

For fashion and beauty brands, dress up parties are a key opportunity to engage with creative Gen Zs looking for a touch of inspo. We recommend tuning into Gen Z's favorite social media platforms for optimum engagement. Makeup tutorials on Instagram or costume ideas on TikTok are both great ways to get Gen Zs on board. When it comes to costumes, try mixing the traditional vampire, werewolf and ghost with some more modern Gen Z idols - think Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, The Salem Sisters, Disney Villains and even the likes Tiger King as possible contenders. 

Creative (and spooky) activities 

It’s not just parties and movies that keep students busy during the Halloween season; 46% of 16-24s like to eat Halloween-themed food and a third enjoy making Halloween-themed crafts. Some will even head to a haunted house if they’re feeling brave.

As digital natives, we know that Gen Z students find a lot of their inspiration online. So, why not make your brand’s Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok feeds stand out with recipes for seasonal bakes (pumpkin spice anything should go down well), craft project ideas, cool Halloween hacks, spooky reads, and decoration ideas.

Halloween themed cookies

“I personally am a Halloween fanatic, it’s probably my favorite time of year. Things I’ve shopped for include a lot of Halloween home decor. Pretty much the entire season I actively go into a lot of stores to find Halloween decorations or cool knicks knacks to put around the house or put on my car - just different things to celebrate. I also go to a lot of Halloween events - and so with that I definitely get drawn into shopping with a lot of brands that they host or partner with for those events. Halloween is a huge shopping season for me for sure.” - Bailey, Business student from California. 

And let’s not forget: pumpkins!

Some traditions never go out of style. One such tradition for Halloween is, of course, pumpkins, otherwise known as Jack-o'lanterns. 

For a bit of context, Jack-o'-lanterns actually originate with the Irish. They would place carved pumpkins or turnips by their doors and windows to scare away evil spirits. Pumpkin-carving has since developed into a fun form of entertainment around Halloween that at least 47% of students like to partake in. Over the years, this activity has grown into quite an art for some creatives - so expect to see a lot of cool carvings spread across social media this year. 

There’s lots more to look forward to this fall, including the one and only Black Friday sales event. Check out our exclusive Black Friday Hub to explore how you can win big with Gen Z consumers.

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