Feel that bite in the air? Fall is here, and that means pumpkin spice lattes and the imminent onset of seasonal video game events. The fall is a big time for the world of video games, and not just because it brings with it each year’s biggest releases. It’s also a convenient time to line up limited-time events to go along with the suite of holidays we’re about to be dealing with, and traditionally it all kicks off in mid-October. Halloween is sort of a perfect event for video games of all stripes: it’s scary, vaguely magical, vaguely wacky and revolves around wearing costumes for rewards. And Halloween is one of Pokémon GO’s most cherished events.
We don’t know anything about what developer Niantic Labs has in store for Halloween this year, but we can assume we’ll see something. Halloween was the first event the game held two years ago, and it helped re-invigorate the userbase at a tough time for the game. And the developer leaned on the holiday to release Gen 3 last year with a limited time appearance from new ghost Pokémon. Plus, one of the central mechanics in this game revolves around candy. It’s hard to imagine we’re skipping this one.
The question then, is what will happen? The event will likely come at a very interesting time for the game. Mewtwo is leaving the game on October 20, marking a kind of unofficial end to the successful “summer tour,” a series of events and challenges that helped push the game to heights it hasn’t seen since launch, helped along by the new trading and social systems. Mewtwo was the big reward, and when it leaves, we’ll be out of big rewards. Niantic will want to keep this momentum going because any lag in activity combined with dropping temperatures could be rough on literal fairweather players.
So, on a basic level, we can assume that we’ll probably get some special spawns and candy bonuses. No Halloween event would be proper without increased ghost Pokémon activity, and so I’d be pretty shocked if we didn’t see that. But that’s year one stuff: Niantic has been a lot more expansive and a lot more creative with its events recently, and I have to imagine we’ll see something else on top of those basic elements.
The real question is whether or not we’re ready for Gen 4, and I think we are. An earlier rumor thought that Gen 4 would be introduced alongside an “evolution event” that would award increased evolution items and introduce a bunch of the Gen 4 evolved forms of earlier Pokémon, of which there are a bunch. It’s not explicitly Halloween-tied, but we remember that the basic premise of walking around for candy is so Halloween-adjacent and think that maybe it doesn’t matter.
We could also see a Ghost-type Pokémon drop again: it’s a limited selection, but it would make for a dramatic reveal of Gen 4 alongside its first legendary. In this case that would be Giratina, a combination Ghost/Dragon-type Pokémon and the first Ghost-type legendary. Dataminers offer some info, though what we do have is more confusing than illuminating. In the APK the event is considered a “fall event” and not explicitly a Halloween event, which would make a kind of sense considering what we saw over the summer. It’s possible that Niantic is now organizing broad seasons of challenges, spawns and rewards, of which Halloween would only be the kickoff.
I do think it would be somewhat surprising to not see Gen 4 at this point: people are looking forward to it, we know its coming and it would be just the sort of event to galvanize those with recently completed Pokédexes to keep playing. For me, the big question is whether it will drop with Ghost-type Pokémon again or whether we’ll see this long-rumoured evolution event.