1994, Laurie Leiber, Director of the Center on Alcohol Advertising,
began Hands Off Halloween to stop beer promotion to children.
Leaders in the fields of public health, communications, local/national
advocacy, youth issues, and alcohol policy
(including the National Association of African Americans for
Positive Imagery), joined forces to declare Halloween a children's
holiday, not to be exploited for beer sales. Mrs. Leiber argued:
adult product like beer and a children's holiday don't mix.
. . . If the beer manufacturers were telling the truth when
they say they only want to reach adults with their advertising
and promotions, they would agree to stop exploiting images
associated with a children's holiday."
for beer included provocative "fun" imagery: black
cats, vampires, bats, spider webs, jack-o-lanterns, and monster
masks. Elvira, a well-known television character also known
as "Mistress of the Dark", became the spokesperson
for Coors Light, the "official beer of Halloween".
She was featured in a six-foot cardboard cut-out with a beach
bum Frankenstein from "Mali-Boo" beach. Budweiser
used paper masks as advertisements, Miller Light created glow-in-the-dark
bottles and shopping bags with monsters on them. Beer Manufacturers
continually argued that their advertising was intended for
adults, but Hands Off Halloween coalition members were quick
to point out the obvious appeal to children.
the Hands Off Halloween campaign packets, organizations were
asked to become involved on a local, state, or national level.
Locally, individuals asked beer retailers through a petition
not to display Halloween-themed beer ads in their stores.
The Southland Corporation, in particular (7-Eleven Stores),
was petitioned to remove these advertisements. Also, organizations
were encouraged to protect children under existing state laws.
primary demand of Hands Off Halloween was that beer advertising
and marketing materials should not depict any symbols or characters
associated with Halloween. As a result of this campaign, many
organizations mobilized nationally regarding Halloween liquor
advertising and liquor ads that target young people in general.