When did Halloween become such a huge event in the UK?

As a child of the 70s I remember some low key trick or treating but nothing compared to the scale of events that children expect today. I wonder whether the hype is driven by retailers trying to cash in or are shops simply responding to consumer demand?

Either way, our supermarkets are keen to be a one stop shop for all our Halloween needs – from costumes to decorations, food & drink and much more. They have really pushed the boat out this year with various digital marketing activities to try to get our attention and with it, their share of the Halloween spend.

Here’s what’s on offer:

Asda’s offering is a full blown party site with advice on recipes, decor and even inspiration videos for Halloween makeup. The overall look and feel is fairly budget but I suspect that they have created sufficient content that can be reskinned and rolled out year on year. Quite a nifty idea. Their pièce de résistance is an app which allows children to hunt and zap monsters in store. The idea is nicely followed up with packs to continue the fun at home.

Sainsbury’s has created a Spooky Speaker app which is loaded up with a plethora of freaky voices to match the kids’ costume of choice. As you’d expect there are also a range of recipes (I was particularly freaked out by these witches fingers with almond nails) and a handy pumpkin carving guide and video. Some stories are available too for the parent trying to find some educational angle in the whole dressing up and sweet fest that is Halloween.

Tesco has a much better range of pumpkin carving templates on offer and a social media pumpkin carving competition on Facebook. There are quite a few crafty ideas on offer via videos and articles to inspire creating your own Halloween decs. As per Asda, lots of clever content that might not headline next year but certainly a good back catalogue with which to stock future years’ Halloween web pages.

As you might expect, Waitrose has largely remained out of the Halloween fracas with just a few recipe and video ideas. Not one for the kids but some nice ideas for Mum and Dad.

Not one to be left out of supermarket wars, Aldi gets in on the act with a number of downloadable ideas from party games to bunting, jokes and costume ideas. Nothing interactive here but some good content with less obvious sales tactics than other sites.

Morrisons hasn’t really gone in for the whole Halloween scene. They simply offer links to their costume and partyware departments.

Similarly the Co-operative hasn’t gone all out to impress with its Halloween content, mainly relying on older blog posts. However, I do like the downloadable wine label templates to transform a bottle of your usual tipple in to Goblin Gruel or Vampire Blood. A nice touch for the person actually doing the shopping!

My review of this year’s digital Halloween offerings puts Asda firmly in the lead. However there has been some serious investment in to content production from a number of its rivals. Halloween is undoubtedly big business and also goes to confirm that brands can be publishers. It may not be high brow, authoritative content but fun and engaging it certainly is and if you need inspiration for a spooktacular 31 October (or simply some examples of good online content), there are plenty of ideas to whet your appetite.