HERSHEY, PA: Candy company Hershey has partnered with the Halloween Costume Association and launched a website that maps how to trick-or-treat safely in every county in the U.S.
Found at Halloween2020.org, the color-coded interactive map is powered by the Harvard Global Health Institute and shows users the risk of COVID-19 in their local community. Users can search by state or county and see real-time numbers of new cases.
The website then offers a color-coded key with CDC-approved activities depending on which color zone a community is in, including reverse trick-or-treating, Zoom parties and "yeeting" the treats.
"We wanted to give communities consistency and the ability to make real-time choices around celebrating safely depending on what their situation is," said Allison Kleinfelter, director of commercial and corporate brand communications for Hershey.
With the help of Zeno Group, Hershey has spread the word across the country, targeting media outlets, candy brands and retail partners.
But the main focus of the campaign has been local governments. Most local municipalities are canceling large haunted houses and parades but looking for other ways to celebrate safely.
"After doing more national announcements with partners like UNICEF, the National Retail Federation and customer companies, we found we needed to focus on local communities because making decisions about trick-or-treating is local," Kleinfelter said. "We worked closely with the government relations team to make sure the national associates of countries and states saw the website as a tool they could use when making those decisions."
The Halloween2020 website features a community resources page with logos, information sheets, social media kits and press release templates that municipalities can use when reaching out to local newspapers.
Hershey's campaign has been positively received by local communities, according to Kleinfelter.
The company has been tracking how people celebrate on social media and through engagement on the Hershey Happiness Halloween hub, which offers games, activities, recipes and decoration ideas.
"Like existing pandemic behavior, we're seeing a bigger participation in baking and home decorating, so we've leaned into supplemental ideas on recipes, home decorating and backyard games," she said.