It’s coming up to Christmas and advertisers will, for the most part, have their productions wrapped up and ready to go live soon, if they haven’t already.


But ohhh. what’s this… An intruder?


Halloween has overtaken Valentine’s Day as the third largest event in the UK retail calendar. Us Brits spend a whopping £300 million on costumes, sweets, fireworks and treacle each year. But that figure pales in comparison to the $6.7 billion our American friends spend on the occasion. They spend $300m on pets’ fancy dress costumes alone….


Ironic, then, that Halloween is a Celtic tradition started in the 19th century in Scotland. Something about ‘All Hallows’ Eve’ where, at the end of summer, the Celts thought the barrier between our world and the world of ghosts and ghouls got very thin. So they decided to throw a party and dress up as scary things to, well, scare them away.


But why is it so big in America? The Irish. According to the Beeb, they crossed the pond in the 19th Century whilst still suffering from the potato famine and introduced an event that really took off in the 20th Century due to the now traditional pumpkin carving and trick or treating. And marketing, of course.


I’ve always been fond of this slightly peculiar event. I mean, think about it: a load of people go around dressed up as loons setting off rockets and bangers;. Children hold pensioners captive with the promise of egg yolk on their doors if they don’t comply to their demands for gifts of sweets and cash monies. And you can absolutely guarantee that ET will be on the box – win, win and win!


Although it does appear to be a time for opportunists, too. Last year I rushed to open my door after hearing a knock and “Trick or treat?!”. I couldn’t open it fast enough knowing that the little beggars would unleash floury hell if I didn’t. But when I offered them a handful of jelly babies (can I say that?), one precocious little goblin said “I’d prefer money, please.” I had no choice but to give him a couple of quid. It was that or spend the evening cleaning up cake mix up from my Porsche porch.


Whilst he was busy being an enterprising little so-and-so, it got me thinking. Who uses Halloween to be creative? I can’t think of anything that stands out from an advertising perspective.


Enter Tesco. Alongside their new campaign to bring the focus back to customers, they’ve released a quite charming film where customers are frightened half to death by creepy goings on in one of their stores. Particular LOLs go to the man being followed by a trolley. Hats off Tesco and BBH!