Gen Z’s taste in Halloween celebrations is a lot like their taste in retail—epicly experiential, and fueled by social media.
Millennials love all things Halloween. So much so, in fact, that they’ve created entire Halloween sub-genres, such as Elevated Halloween (thank you, Etsy), and Halloween-related spending is at an all-time high.
But move over Millennials, there’s a new ghoul in town: Generation Z. As it turns out, Gen Zs also love Halloween, although they’re celebrating differently than generations past. Here’s how:
Gen Zs are a creative bunch, and Halloween happens to be a prime time of year for creative expression. Given that Zs revel in the many ways they can define and express their selfhood, it stands to reason that Halloween would be a moment for celebrating their lesser-shown sides in spectacular ways. Many Gen Zs plan to make their own costumes, and they often turn to social media for Halloween costume inspiration. Smart brands can capitalize by stocking their own social feeds with creative fuel for costume design-making, so that Gen Z’s Halloween garb is a true expression of individuality—in all its glorious forms.
In many ways, Gen Zs’ taste in spooks mimics their taste in retail. Gone are the days where young people craving fright-filled evenings would settle for a bowl of grapes as a stand in for eyeballs. Instead, Zs crave higher quality, visual experiences that make great Instagram fodder. Mini halloween-themed escape rooms, ax throwing competitions and virtual reality horrors are all on the rise. Of course, haunted houses still thrive, but they’ve got to be highly produced affairs with next level effects if you want to impress Gen Zs. So when it comes to in-person experiences, make sure you double down on delivering an over-the-top Halloween.
Shots from last night’s hauntings are not the only thing you can expect to find their way to Gen Z Instagram feeds. In fact, almost 40 percent of Gen Zs admit to making a Halloween purchase purely for use on social media. And since some experts expect post-Millennial Instagram as a whole to be trending “weirder and uglier” due to Gen Z’s “messier and more unfiltered vibe”, you can bet your broomstick that Halloween will be a peak time of year for Instagram weirdness.
Like it or not, Zs are also having an influence on how the rest of us celebrate Halloween. Gen Z’s strong emphasis on inclusivity and diversity is driving a cultural shift that has not left Halloween untouched. The Teal Pumpkin Project, for example, strives to make Halloween more inclusive for kids with food allergies. And inclusive costumes are on the rise: This year, Target rolled out a line of adaptive Halloween costumes, meeting a real need for many shoppers. And, both gender neutral and gender affirming Halloween costumes for all ages are also growing in popularity.
Whether they’re crafting their own costumes or participating in a nighttime zombie run, you can expect that Gen Zs will be all in on a Halloween that’s both frightful and fun this year.
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