I play a lot of games. That’s probably not a surprise to you. If you’re reading this then you probably play a lot of games too. One of the things I enjoy immensely in my games is holiday events. Another thing I enjoy immensely is Halloween. So when you put the two together, I am a very happy gamer. Unfortunately, my favorite game in the whole world doesn’t feed my appetite for Halloween gaming. Why not?

In 2015 Destiny players were able to unlock a collection of custom avatar masks for Halloween.

The obvious difference between Magic the Gathering and most other games is the fact that Magic is played on paper. With a digital game, like Destiny for example, it’s relatively easy for the developers to throw in some visual bells and whistles to create a Halloween atmosphere. With a paper game things aren’t so simple.

Or are they?

First off, Wizards has not one, not two, but three digital offerings under their umbrella in the forms of Magic Online, Duels of the Planeswalkers, and Magic Puzzle Quest. So why are there no Halloween events? How come I can’t get a special Halloween avatar in those games? Why aren’t there alternate-art Halloween promos?

The answer is branding. October was already a huge month for Magic with Kaladesh’s release on September 30th, Pro Tour Kaladesh, and the release of Commander 2016. With a month already action packed, building a marketing campaign and branding effort behind a Halloween promotion would have been in direct conflict with the resources used for Kaladesh and Commander.

So what should Wizards do? I’m obviously biased, as I stated above, so I would like to see some Halloween promotion from Magic the Gathering in the future. Unfortunately that means avoiding any conflict with the fall block release. After all, block releases are the most important part of the release calendar for Wizards.

Or does it?

Five years ago the fall block brought us to a new world called Innistrad. The world full of Gothic horror storytelling was a perfect fit for the month of October. Halloween draft parties were all the rage. It was a fantastic time but it was something we haven’t captured again since. Had the new two-block paradigm not been put in place, Shadows Over Innistrad would have been the fall release this year, and we would have had another Halloween on Innistrad. Instead, the return to Innistrad was pushed up to earlier in the year and we’re spending the holidays on Kaladesh.

Could we visit Innistrad every year? I’m not a marketing expert, but I don’t think it would be a stretch to create a special annual event that checked in on the fine folks of Innistrad. I mean, sure, Emrakul almost just completely destroyed their plane, Sorin was encased in stone, Nahiri left a disaster in her wake, Avacyn is no more, and many, many innocents were slaughtered in the battle between the Gatewatch and Emrakul.

But can’t they still celebrate Halloween?

After the Pro Tour and before the release of Commander I think there’s definitely a window of opportunity for Wizards to spend a few weeks running special Innistrad/Halloween events with unique promotional cards (perhaps a better use for alternate-art Zombie planewsalkers from San Diego Comic Con). I think it would be a good opportunity to get the casual community, which is by far the largest segment, into stores for fun events and parties and some zombie promos.

I fully understand the challenges Wizards faces with competing with themselves, especially around set releases. Anything that takes away from the marketing power of a set release like Kaladesh is a bad idea. But, I think Wizards could be missing out on a gold mine of fun (and money) by not trying to slot in a few weeks for a Halloween event.

What do you think? Would you attend Halloween events for zombie-themed alternate art promos? Would you dress up in costume for a Halloween draft party? Let us know on Twitter and maybe we’ll see you at one next year!

What We Learned is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.

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