Pokémon GO Event Review: Halloween 2021 Special Raid Weekend

The Halloween 2021 Event is wrapping up in Pokémon GO, and mobile developer Niantic Labs has decided to end it with a raid weekend. This weekend, Darkrai and Mega Absol raids were popping with increased frequency, encouraging Pokémon GO trainers to get out there to complete Tier Five and Mega Raids. Did this event-within-an-event add to the Halloween 2021 experience? Let's take a look at what worked and what didn't work.

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

What worked for this Pokémon GO event

  • Mega Absol: There isn't that much incentive to do Mega Raids. Earning Mega Energy is the main reason and there is a chance of catching a Shiny, but the overall Pokémon GO community seems to have spoken: this is an unpopular feature. However, Absol is a Pokémon that doesn't spawn in the wild outside of special events, as it is raid/egg exclusive. If there were ever a Mega worth spotlighting in an event like this, it's Mega Absol. Niantic got that aspect of this event right. Doing concentrated, Mega-focused events like this will help at least push the community in the direction of doing these.

What didn't work for this Pokémon GO event

  • Darkrai: Darkrai is the current Halloween 2021 boss, which is largely considered a misstep. This is the third Halloween in a row that Darkrai was featured, with the first being its arrival in 2019. That made sense! 2020 saw Darkrai have a weird Shiny release early in the year and then a Halloween 2020 feature that felt weird considering it was being sold as an awesome surprise when the highly anticipated Shiny Origin Forme Giratina had been the direct prior boss. If those two had been swapped? Great! Now, Darkrai is the boss for Halloween 2021 with an exclusive move: Sludge Bomb. That isn't Darkrai's signature move of Dark Void, which makes me think that next year will see another Darkrai Halloween feature, this time with Dark Void. Now, Darkrai is already a Tier Five feature that many trainers are ignoring even during Raid Hour, so I don't know why Niantic thought it needed to be part of this weekend. Mega Absol could have easily been the sole focus.
  • In true Niantic fashion, this was incredibly ill-planned. It overlapped with the end of the Halloween event, making the rest of the raids exceedingly rare. That meant that Halloween Mischief Drifblim, the only Shiny Pokémon to chase in raids through the event, was essentially gone two days early. And for what? A day of raids that most trainers are uninterested in doing.


At the end of the day, this was something of a bonus event so it's not a huge deal either way. Unfortunately, it ended up spoiling the end of the Pokémon GO event it was supposed to enhance.

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Theo DwyerAbout Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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