Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

October 29, 2015

7 Min Read
13 spook-tacular candy packages for Halloween

Clever graphics on stand-up pouches—along with traditional characters and color schemes—are helping to sell Halloween candy to a most-receptive audience. Americans are expected to spend a whopping $2.6 billion (with a B!) on candy for this year’s holiday, according to the National Confectioners Assn.

A recent visit to a local Walmart superstore unearthed a bevy of bags and boxes—adorned with witches, zombies and monsters, oh my!—that are a real treat for the gremlins ringing doorbells on Saturday.

Among the notable Halloween candy packaging trends I see:

• The majority of secondary packages are flexible bags or pouches—with more stand-up pouches than I ever remember seeing before (gotta love that vertical display!). There were only a couple cartons and other rigid packages in an entire aisle of offerings. (As you may know, flexible packaging can be difficult to photograph sometimes. My apologies if the images aren’t the best.)

• A lot of clear windows show the inner beauty of the primary packs, many of which have matching or complementary graphics.

• Faces looking at you make you look at them. Eyes, in particular, draw consumers’ attention to many of these products.

• Traditional orange and black colors are prevalent—making these packages fade a bit in a sea of sameness.

• A handful of products created “fall” graphics rather than Halloween-specific images, perhaps to help extend the selling period past Oct. 31.

• All of the Halloween candy in the aisle at this Walmart store was shipped in retail-ready displays (see below). This makes the shelves easy to stock and presents an organized look, but the edges and bottoms of the cases hid a bit too much of the bags, pouches and cartons—taking away from their shelf impact. Also, removing the package wasn’t always easy.


Take a look…if you dare…

First up…

Mouths to feed

Betty Crocker fruit snacks (see image above) use a traditional jack-o-lantern smile to show the special Spooky Shapes of the candies. The paperboard carton screams “Halloween” (literally, through the main text, as well as with the images). Do we really need the tag line “Great for Trick-or-Treating and Halloween parties!”? Graphics are designed for horizontal or vertical display in stores (see below).


Are you like me and like to buy variety packs for Halloween? The open mouths of these monsters show what delicious candy is inside from The Hershey Co., along with the brand logos plastered on the top of the pouch. From ghosts to witches and (not shown) mummies, the fun characters engage well on these flat-bottom stand-up pouches. It’s hard to tell from these examples, but it looks like the color scheme of the outer pouch reflects some of the colors of the inner snack packs.


NEXT: Variety show

Variety show

Wrigley/Mars dresses this Skittles and Starbursts variety pack in orange and black, with subtle silhouettes of ghosts, bats and other shapes—including the initial “S” from each brand. A black belt cinches the waist and calls attention to the total count, which is front and center. The lower half of the horizontal pillow pack is clear to show the inner snack packs.


Nestle’s variety pack combines orange punch Spooky Nerds, skulls and bones SweeTarts, and carmel apple Laffy Taffy candies. The green background nicely creates a trick-or-treating scene with bats and costumed kids (seen better in the close-up shot). Again, a clear window lets the inner branded packs show through.


NEXT: Monsters and mayhem

Monsters and mayhem

Not sure if this Zombie food from Skybar is supposed to feed Zombies to keep them from eating you or if these are parts of Zombies for you to eat! A clear section of this Doyen-style stand-up pouch lets you see the packs inside. Holding 14 ounces of candies gives this pack a strong vertical presence on shelf. A call-out in the upper right lets consumers know these body parts are Made in the U.S.A. And a clever scar graphic in the upper left show where to unzip (open) the bag, along with the instructions to “Tear here to devour brains.”


Frankford Body Parts graphics on this flat-bottom stand-up pouch tap into the Frankenstein-piece-it-together monster with a large clear section on the front panel that shows off the inner packs—also with plenty of clear areas so you can see their “5 Different Gruesome Gummies” inside. Who knew body parts were so appetizing…eewww.


Snack-size Twizzlers Twists lay-flat bag keeps its red brand color and simply uses a Frankenstein-esque monster as the main graphic. A clear window in the lower right corner lets you see the inner packs. An official-looking medallion in the prime upper left corner identifies Universal Studios as the “Home of the Original Monsters.” Is that a strong selling point to parents buying Halloween candy?


Nabisco’s Spooky Edition of Fun Snacks Mix brings together five different popular baked snacks into one 30-count carton. Showing the regular product packages taps into the equity of these well-known brands. The vampire graphics show how non-traditional color schemes—purple and yellow, in this case—can work well and help make the product stand out amid all the other orange and black.


NEXT: Fall-centered graphics

Fall-centered graphics

York’s special pumpkin-shaped peppermint patties are packaged in a stand-up pouch decorated with falling leaves and an orange color scheme, extending the life of this particular package beyond just the Halloween holiday. Instead of a window to show the inner packs, they are printed on the outer graphics.


Graphics for Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers in a stand-up pouch go the fall harvest route, with a field in silhouette, complete with pumpkins and a scarecrow. The brand’s signature Goldfish character even dons a scarecrow hat. One of the pumpkins looks like it has been carved open to hold the inner snack bags, which also have Halloween-related graphics, including a black background and orange color scheme. Colorful fall leaves frame the top, left and bottom.


The pillow pack of Hershey’s Miniatures uses golden and russet colors often seen in fall foliage. I do like how the colors are repeated in the word “miniatures.” However, a cartoony bird and squirrel are a bit of a childish disconnect to an otherwise more grown up design.


NEXT: Tradition! Tradition.

Tradition! Tradition.

PEZ Candy & Dispenser hopes traditional Halloween connections—an orange color scheme and the usual cast of characters (witches, black cats, vampires and pumpkins)—are enough to attract sales this holiday. One more-modern boost is the glow-in-the-dark material for the dispenser, which gives extra novelty to the product. The reddish-purple PEZ brand color on the candy packs stands out, but garishly so. I think they missed an opportunity to complement this special product with an orange or black wrap for the candy to go all out for Halloween.


Great minds think alike…Remember the Wrigley/Mars variety pack with Skittles and Starburts (on p.2)? This Reese’s Boo! bag follows a similar design layout, with a black band in the center and clear window below. Bats and spiders (in the shape of a half-eaten Reese’s cup, no less) provide a scary Halloween setting. Again, the individual packs mirror the graphics of the outer bag and reinforce the uniqueness of the product itself: an orange-colored cup imprinted with the word “Boo!”


What designs resonate with you and why? Here’s what made it into my cart:



Passionate about packaging design? Learn about the latest developments in packaging innovation at SouthPack 2015, Nov. 18-19, in Orlando, FL.

About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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