As consumers figure out how they’ll celebrate Halloween during a pandemic, home improvement retailer Lowe’s has a suggestion: It is hosting drive-thru trick-or-treating events at its 1,700 U.S. stores from 6 to 7 p.m. local time from Oct. 22-29.
Space is limited, so interested parties should reserve a spot beginning Oct. 10 on a dedicated microsite. Lowe’s will provide candy and a “kid-sized pumpkin” to participants at no cost. You don’t even have to dress up—costumes are encouraged, but not required.
In addition, Lowe’s is encouraging customers to carve pumpkins with messages of gratitude for National First Responders Day on Oct. 28—and to share images using the hashtag #BuildThanks. (For inspiration, it has a new video featuring eight ways to decorate pumpkins.)
“While the pandemic has changed many elements of everyday life, the tradition of trick-or-treating doesn’t have to be one of them,” said Lowe’s evp Joe McFarland in a statement.
Forrester analyst Sucharita Kodali called the curbside event a great alternative to house-to-house trick-or-treating, which is discouraged in some states.
“This gives some families an option,” she added. “It’s a great feel-good effort to preserve a tradition that has been disrupted this year.”
In a prior interview, Gartner analyst Kate Muhl predicted communities would find ways like this to salvage the tradition of trick-or-treating.
Could we see more branded trick-or-treating options? Potentially.
The effort from Lowe’s is similar to the drive-in movie theaters Walmart created in 160 of its parking lots over the summer to offer pandemic-weary consumers a bit of fun. During Brandweek, Walmart chief customer officer Janey Whiteside alluded to the potential of extending this parking lot transformation by hosting a safe trick-or-treating environment for customers. (A Walmart spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on its Halloween plans.)
A survey from the National Retail Federation found that 148 million adults in the U.S. plan to celebrate Halloween this year. They ranked safe at-home activities such as decorating their homes and carving pumpkins highest, but 17% said they will have virtual Halloween celebrations this year, too.