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Winter bash hats are awesome! They add diversity and joy to the sites we love.

Halloween is the season where we celebrate ghosts, zombies, fairies, death, candies and delve into fantasy (the list can be longer).

Could we have masks for Halloween Season? (You know, hats, but that cover the face too?)

Like winter bash hats, this would add colours to the sites we love, and help increase traffic and participation across Stack Exchange sites.

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The reason for the hats is to bolster traffic. With few exceptions policy for features depends on objective goals with a risk/reward analysis to make sure the feature doesn't do more harm than good.

The traffic dip is clearly seen in a visitor graph from Quantcast:

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There's a million visit/day dip - an almost 25% drop in traffic - over this period of time, consistently, every year. Look at the bottom mini-graph for a clearer view of this year dip.

Further, the people who stop using Stack Overflow during this time period are not the people asking for help, they are the experts. Those who don't need Stack Overflow, but continue to visit and answer questions. When they are busy during the holidays, they simply stop coming, though they return after the holidays. So the balance shifts, and the people who need Stack Overflow continue to ask questions unabated, while those who answer them are reduced in numbers.

Stack Exchange isn't simply bolstering traffic, but they're trying to retain talent during this predictable, consistent dip.

The hats are a very clever way to encourage the community to stick around when other activities might pull them away. So while they are fun and entertaining, unless there is an actionable, necessary goal to be achieved during the Halloween season it is unlikely they would consider it.

If the summer dip (school is out, lots of people take vacations) was shorter, or more significant, you might have an argument for summer hats.

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Dev here. With Winter Bash being quite a lot of work already and the two times so close, this probably wouldn't be high on our list. Fun to think about though :)

  • Doesn't a huge company like SO have unlimited resources for this kind of thing? Maybe marketing could pay for it out of their budget? – Joe Friend Oct 30 '17 at 14:51
  • Also, the mask-like hats can seriously impede usability, so even if we were going to do something hat-like for halloween, we should think in terms of witches' hats and green warts and whatnot, not gravar-occluding masks. – Monica Cellio Oct 30 '17 at 15:57
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Could we have masks for Halloween Season?

No, for multiple reasons. For a starter, I don't like the Halloween season personally, and that can be true for more people.

Winter bash is special: it brings traffic to the sites which usually take a dip in that period. I don't see how a Halloween bash would have the same effect. Also, it will make Winterbash less special and possibly less effective.

Another reason is the huge amount of development time needed to make all the hats.

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    There are surely as many people who dislike winter and/or the holidays associated with that time - which is why they allow users to opt out. As such I'm not sure your first argument has any validity. – Adam Davis 'ze-zir-zem' Oct 30 '17 at 14:24
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    A more valid argument would be that Halloween is not as universally celebrated as the beginning of a new year, which is generally (not always) associated with winter season. – user315433 Oct 30 '17 at 14:33
  • @AdamDavis That was my personal reason not to want it. That is a valid argument for me, and maybe for others. The other arguments are more universal indeed. – Patrick Hofman Oct 30 '17 at 14:55
  • And more than the 'winter season', which is a quite neutral theme, Halloween has some unpleasant feelings for some cultures / religions. – Patrick Hofman Oct 30 '17 at 14:57
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Honestly, I wish we had time to do something like this. I love some Halloween fun.

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