Hershey’s new website maps out how to safely trick-or-treat

(CNN) — Halloween is around the corner, and Hershey wants to ensure the coronavirus doesn’t spook trick-or-treaters from eating candy.

The confectioner — which, along with its namesake chocolate bar, manufactures Halloween favorites Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Kit Kats — launched a website that maps out how to trick-or-treat safely in every county in the United States.

The website prompts people to hover over their county, which is color-coded to display the COVID-19 risk level in that area. “Green” represents the lowest risk for trick-or-treating and “red” represents the highest risk. The map also lists the number of confirmed cases in each county. 

On the website, Hershey has Halloween celebration recommendations for each color — from trick-or-treating with masks on to staying at home to watch scary movies on Netflix and everything in between. For example, for “orange” areas, Hershey recommends a socially distant neighborhood candy hunt or neighborhood drive-by costume parties. For “yellow” areas, Hershey suggests a decorate-your-own spooky face mask party.

Halloween typically accounts for 10% of Hershey’s annual sales, but the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to put a damper on trick-or-treating this year. That has pushed the company to shift its strategy for what is typically its biggest season: less Halloween-focused packaging and a bigger focus on family-sized packs, as many people opt to celebrate at home.

And when it comes to Halloween displays, some stores are breaking them out two to four weeks earlier than usual, said Phil Stanley, Hershey's global chief sales officer.

“More stores have started Halloween displays earlier — most have moved up their displays two to four weeks earlier” than the typical mid-August and early September arrival, Stanley said, adding that setting up Halloween displays and aisles earlier can lead to increased sales.

Hershey’s stock is down about 1% this year at $145 per share, as of Tuesday.

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