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Halloween Candy Is Hitting Retail Stores Earlier Than Ever. Here's Why.

Bring on the pumpkin-shaped Reese's peanut butter cups NOW.

COLE SALADINO/THRILLIST

There's something to be said about a holiday centered entirely around eating candy. So while some might argue celebrating Halloween in August is premature, I'd say we deserve it. And this year, retailers across the nation are stocking shelves with pumpkin-shaped Reese's and Butterfinger skulls much sooner than normal. 

Hershey will be setting up its autumn merchandise and displays as soon as this summer, the company's global chief sales officer Phil Stanley told CNN Business. In fact, supermarket chain Safeway has already begun selling bags of Mars Wrigley and Hershey candies while Target, Walmart, and Walgreens said they would remain on schedule for a late-summer and early-fall candy debut.

"More stores have started Halloween displays earlier -- most have moved up their displays two to four weeks earlier" Stanley said, noting that typically the product arrives mid-August to early September. 

The decision to move up the Halloween display is an effort to drive sales. But it's also not the only attempt the candy giant is taking to combat recent economic stress. According to the outlet, Hershey is producing more candy in everyday packaging, as well, and limiting its versus the "seasonally dressed" offerings.

"The category is very resilient in this COVID-19 environment in that people are looking for simple pleasures and a little escape and enjoyment in their day to day," senior vice president of public affairs and communications for the National Confectioners Association Christopher Gindlesperger said.

For its part, Mondelez is more concentrated on churning out family-size packs of its best selling products, but with an emphasis on sharing with actual families rather than for trick-or-treating.

"Our consumer insights indicate that families will be looking to organize Halloween celebrations for their children while also trying to keep them safe," the company's senior category director for US Confections Iryna Shandarivska said, per the CNN Business report. "This may mean that Halloween gatherings and celebrations that would have otherwise taken place in person shift virtually and that in-person activities happen in more 'social bubbles,' which people have created for themselves in a COVID-19 world over recent months."

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.