Halloween Provides A Glimpse Into The Top Millennial Trends

Halloween isn’t just a chance to dress up, eat lots of candy, and watch scary movies. It’s a major time for marketers to understand consumers who are expected to spend $8 billion on the holiday this year. Besides tricks and treats, Halloween provides perspective on some of the biggest trends...just take a look at what people are dressing up as and how they get their costume ideas. So in the spirit of Halloween, we spoke to more than 700 Millennials about their Halloween outfits and inspiration, and many of our findings offer insights to further understand this generation.

WaldoThe ‘90s Are All That

It’s no secret that Millennials are nostalgic for the ‘90s, but Halloween highlights just how much they miss this decade and the simpler times that it represents. Many Millennials mentioned that they dressed up/are dressing up as iconic characters from ‘90s TV shows, books, video games, and even board games because these characters and objects are meaningful to them. For example, one Millennial told us that she dressed as Ms. Frizzle from the books and show “The Magic School Bus” because she loved the series growing up and still thinks it’s awesome. Another said he dressed as Chuckie from “Rugrats” because he too enjoyed it as a kid and still does thanks to reruns. Another Millennial said she's being a character from Candy Land, which is particularly relevant with the resurgence of board games. Numerous other young people mentioned that they're dressing as Pokeman, Mario (from Super Mario Bros.), Waldo, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the always popular Disney princesses. As many of these characters are coming back through reboots or the wave of ‘90s nostalgia taking culture by storm, Millennials are very much excited and want to show their enthusiasm for this period.

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“I eat [Pizza Hut] least two times per month; it's one of my favorite places to go to eat pizza.”—Male, 35, VA

More Millennials are asking for cash wedding registries, and it’s bad news for stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma. Increasingly, young couples are asking guests to contribute towards their nest egg, travel, or anything they feel like buying themselves. Companies like Zola and Honeypot have boomed in popularity, offering a personalized platform for their cash registries. However, their success with wedding registries is taking “a key customer acquisition tool” away from home décor stores. (Insider)

The beauty industry is catering to Customization Nation, as more companies crop up to blend unique beauty products for each customer. But can the trend scale? Truly personalized products, like the ones offered by hair care start-up Function of Beauty and makeup company Bite Beauty, take time and resources. But companies that offer base products with just a personalized element or two could be the future of the industry. And big-name brands are getting their feet wet too: Lancôme and CoverGirl have both offered custom-made foundations. (Glossy)

Nordstrom is taking risks to survive retail’s big shifts. Instead of shuttering stores, they’re opening experimental retail locations, revamping their department stores, and making their mark in Manhattan with their first store openings. The long-standing brand also bought ecommerce site HauteLook and the subscription service Trunk Club. So far, their risk-taking hasn’t proved to be a boon to their bottom line—but only time will tell. (WSJ)

Hollister is teaming up with AwesomenessTV to reach Gen Z with a YouTube series. “The Carpe Life” will be a part of a broader campaign, which includes influencer marketingand appeals to young consumers’ love for active, adventurous lifestyles. "The Carpe Life" follows Hollister's first YouTube series, “This is Summer” which “boosted key brand metrics by double digits,” adding on to their overall positive impact on Abercrombie & Fitch’s rising bottom line. (Marketing Dive)

Netflix is switching its strategy, putting less money into “prestige films” for the Post-TV Gen. Instead, they’re churning out more direct-to-video releases. Last year, they bought ten titles at Sundance while this year they had none. While they continue to create original content like the recent The Cloverfield Paradox, they’re betting on less-than-award-worthy films to maintain their hold on Millennial viewers. (The Atlantic)

“Basically if I found out any brand was supporting causes I do not support and actively oppose, I will avoid buying their products.”—Female, 27, CA

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