Pokémon GO Event Review: Halloween 2021 Event Part One

Niantic delivers a lackluster Halloween 2021 Event in Pokémon GO this year, with Part One disappointing on almost every level. Let's take a look at what went wrong.

Halloween 2021 Event graphic in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Halloween 2021 Event graphic in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic

What worked for this Pokémon GO event

  • New costumes: Three new Shiny-capable costumed Pokémon is a win to me. This aspect of the event is unfortunately overshadowed by one of the didn't works below but taken at face value, this is a win.
  • Shiny Spinarak: A new Shiny release is a big plus for Pokémon GO events in 2021 as Niantic spreads out content more and more, and Spinarak is a surprising but perfect choice for the event.
  • want to like it: I love this event in theory. I so badly want to love it every year. While last year's was flawed due to a lackluster raid feature, it was still one of the most fun and memorable events of the year. The truth is, I can't help but admit that a lot of my positivity regarding this event comes as a result of built-in belief that this is supposed to be a great event. But…

What didn't work for this Pokémon GO event

  • Honestly, too much: This event was a bit of a mess. My biggest critique is that unlike last year having a bad Tier Five raid feature, this year has a lot wrong with it. That in and of itself is a huge bummer.
  • The vibe is off: Previous Halloween events started at night. They featured Ghost-types and Dark-types heavily. There was generally Team GO Rocket content leading up to it. This year, the event started at 10 AM like every other event as if Niantic just couldn't be bothered to get festive about it. All of the hype I felt for going out on the first night of the Halloween event to play last year was gone. It truly feels like Niantic cares less than they used to and that is a disappointment. Even Spiritomb, a staple of the event, was relegated to rare non-event tasks. What happened here?
  • Inconsequential research: We got a lot of Research. We had a new Hoopa page that was easy to breeze through and offered nothing of actual value. We had a one-page Timed Research that seemed designed just to push people to GO Battle Leauge. Finally, the annual Halloween Special Research was way shorter and offered far less than in the past.
  • Lack of raid variety: Outside of Halloween Mischief Drifblim, there is virtually nothing interesting in raids. Nothing. The previous Halloween events had the Shiny-capable costumed Starters and Pikachu. Why in the world would Niantic opt for a rotation full of common spawns over them? Why not bring back costumed Sableye and put it in raids? Unfortunately, the raid problem of last year's Tier Five disappointment has spread to all other tiers.


Compared to previous years, Pokémon GO's Halloween event for 2021 was shockingly bad in its first part. Part Two looks to be a bit better but this is a symptom of Niantic's disconnect with the fanbase's desires. This was not a problem in the past, especially with this event. Whatever went into making this event the disaster that it is… it's something Niantic should address, as this was previously the most exciting time to play Pokémon GO. Now, I've never been less interested in opening the app.

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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