Spooktober has not always been moonlight and strong bones. Although the event started off strong in recent years, the craze has begun to feel strained and meme creators have largely stopped putting energy into it.
Last year, Meme Insider detailed this phenomenon in an article titled “Spooktober Is Dead and We Killed It,” which explored how overusing spooky memes in September and early October burns out users before Halloween ever arrives.
Due to this burnout, mods and users on some of Reddit’s biggest meme subs made a compromise and decided to ultimately quarantine the Spooktober memes in an effort to avoid this. Moderators from /r/dankmemes took action ahead of Spooktober season and created a sister subreddit, /r/spook_irl, to allow for skeleton-posting and dooting alike. Outside of Reddit, Instagram did little to expand the field, and Twitter latched onto a 12-Foot Tall Home Depot Skeleton. TikTokers this year briefly kicked off the spooky season with the Ghost Photoshoot trend, but after drawing criticism from certain users who claimed it was racist, it quickly died out.
Taking all of this into account, the question is, “Has Spooktober been successful overall, and how does 2020’s event compare to previous years?” The answer may not surprise you as to where it’s fallen flat since the peak in 2018.
In a sense of cosmic irony, the efforts from Reddit made to combat burnout have created the reverse, where there is simply little to no engagement in 2020. For starters, /r/spook_irl still only has around 19,000 subscribers, which is minuscule next to /r/dankmemes more than 4 million. Additionally, the subreddit /r/spooktober made three years ago has a similar problem with just 60,000 subscribers. Both of these subs have a general trend where their “hot” page looks like a larger meme subreddit’s “new” page. Tossing formats at the wall isn’t inherently bad or good, as it can often bring out real creativity, however, the lack of users means this…
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