This article was updated on September 20, 2022
This October, while the neighborhood kids are trying on their costumes and dreaming of candy, you may be thinking about how your small business can make the most of Halloween. As you brainstorm ways to grow your business, remember to have a little fun.
If you’re looking for Halloween marketing ideas, this blog post can help. From store designs to digital outreach, get creative with your marketing and show your customers a little bit of your spooky side. Read on for the best Halloween marketing ideas to bring more customers to your door this October.
Pick a Halloween theme
Before you head to the local pop-up Halloween costume shop or start hanging decorations, consider picking a theme for this year’s Halloween marketing campaign.
Why choose a theme?
- It can help you create a specific, unique marketing plan.
- You’ll stand out from the competition’s more general Halloween campaigns.
- It’ll speed up the brainstorming and planning processes.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider the following Halloween theme ideas:
- Vintage Halloween – Choose a decade in history and teleport your storefront or online shop back in time. Incorporate the most popular Halloween costumes from that era, call back to movies from the time, or get your hands on some vintage decor.
- A famous scary movie – Pick your favorite spooky flick and use it as inspiration for your marketing efforts. You can choose an old-school classic like A Nightmare on Elm Street or a new favorite like The Conjuring.
- A monster – Channel your inner zombie, werewolf, vampire, or ghost for a monster-themed Halloween marketing push.
Picking a theme also makes it easier to plan other Halloween elements for your business, such as the Halloween imagery used in your digital marketing and social media campaign.
Throw a Halloween party
There’s always a reason to celebrate, and Halloween is no exception. You can become the toast of the town by throwing an event that your customers will be lining up for this spooky season.
Whether you rent out a banquet hall, host an event at a local bar, or bring guests into your own location, a Halloween party is an opportunity to familiarize more customers with your business, while having fun. With some festive decorations, Halloween candy, and costumes, you'll be able to host the perfect event for shoppers this holiday season.
Consider adding these events to your Halloween party to attract more guests and create a memorable event:
- Costume contest – The best dressed deserve to be rewarded. Encourage your guests to dress up as anything from Frankenstein to felines, and have a team of volunteer judges choose the best costume. Encourage guests to come back to your business by giving away gift cards.
- Pumpkin carving – A classic seasonal activity, bring some pumpkins to your party and give kids and adults the opportunity to make the best jack-o-lantern. Whether they’re going freehand or following an outline, pumpkin carving is an essential part of Halloween.
- Monster-mash dance-off – What would a party be without music? Encourage the attendees to bust a move on the dance floor to the spooky anthems of Halloween. No Halloween party could be complete without a ghoulish dance-off and a few groovy moves.
Throw a Halloween party to market yourself directly to your customers and give them something to remember for the rest of the year. If you can play host for the evening, you may end up benefiting from an increase in sales for the busy holiday months to come.
Organize a local business trick-or-treat
While you might want to do it before the 31st of October, a local business trick-or-treat can be a strategic way to engage with families, join in the Halloween fun, and market yourself all at once.
The premise is pretty straightforward—partner with several nearby businesses where families can trick-or-treat during the weekend leading up to Halloween. The trick-or-treaters and their parents can visit your businesses, collect Halloween candy, and have a fun day out with their neighbors celebrating the Halloween season.
If you’re wondering how to put together a local business trick-or-treat day, follow these steps:
- Team up - This event takes more than one business to pull off, so reach out to your neighbors. If you have a neighbor account on Nextdoor, use it to easily connect with your whole community and find other local businesses to join in the festivities.
- Set up – Organize your storefront to make it clear from the outside that you’re one of the designated trick-or-treat stops. Since you’re organizing the event, it might make sense to have it begin or end at your business.
- Offer something unique – Candy and treats are definitely essential to this event, but you should also consider offering something related to your business as well. If you’re a brewery, be sure to have some pints poured for the parents. If you make candles, offer some samples to the families that stop in. Find a way to get your business on the mind of all those who come by. Branded treats are a great Halloween promotion idea that will keep shoppers coming back for more.
While trick-or-treating is an activity aimed at kids, parents often appreciate and remember when a small business does something for the family. By putting this event together you’re not only keeping your business on their minds, but you’re also creating positive associations with your brand that can pay off in the long run.
Put on a spooky scavenger hunt
Before the weather gets too chilly, bring your community together outside for a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt. Find a large open space and invite neighbors to follow the Halloween-themed clues to discover the prizes.
Consider incorporating these aspects into your scavenger hunt to encourage turnout and get the word out, including:
- Charity – You can sell tickets to your scavenger hunt to raise money for charity, allowing you and everyone to attend to give back to the community. Take Susan Cioffi, a Riverview Florida realtor, for example. She designed a fundraiser to offer support to newly housed people. You can choose the organization that aligns with your brand’s mission or even start laying the framework needed to start a charity of your own.
- Branded prizes – Add a little bit of your business into the scavenger hunt by having participants look for branded goods associated with your business. That way, every time another clue is found, it’s another connection to you. Make it an even bigger community event by partnering with other nearby businesses to donate prizes.
The most important aspect of putting together a scavenger hunt is directly interfacing with the attendees and potential clientele. Use this opportunity to make a memory, create community bonds, and have fun with customers, new and old alike.
Design a scary store
Don’t hesitate to bring Halloween into your actual business - whether that’s your office space or storefront. Customers often appreciate seeing the effort of seasonal decorations, and may even be more excited to visit your business once it’s been redecorated.
A few ways to redesign your space to celebrate the season include:
- The Halloween display – If you have a front display window for your business, it’s the perfect location to show your Halloween spirit off to everyone who passes by. Fill your display window with pumpkins, scarecrows, and all manners of ghostly cardboard cutouts. Go all-in on your display and you might find people stopped in their tracks, admiring your hard work.
- A frighteningly fun interior – Don’t stop at the exterior, bring the Halloween decorations inside your business. Decorate your walls with your favorite Halloween images and make something striking for your customers to take selfies in front of.
- Don’t ignore the digital store – Your digital storefront can be just as important as your physical one. Add a dash of Halloween flourish to your website and you might see more clicks, more sales, and more revenue from all your hard digital work.
Bring the Halloween spirit online
If your business is mainly conducted online, it’s doubly important that you keep your marketing evolving throughout the fall season and into the winter.
Here’s how your business can prepare for this rise in online shopping and how you can create a Halloween-themed digital presence while doing so:
- "Spookifying" your social media – Bring Halloween into your social media posts with images and hashtags that will captivate those who are looking forward to the holiday. There’s no wrong way to capture the essence of Halloween, so try embracing your scary side with a wide array of messages that will bring more eyes to your business’s social media pages. To boost engagement for your Halloween celebration, you can even encourage new and potential customers to tag your store using your Halloween hashtag.
- A digital Halloween campaign – From ghostly banner ads to ghoulish search engine marketing, you can cater your online ad designs to align with the scariest time of the year. Not only will it act to revitalize your ad campaign, but it will also show your customers you’re keeping up with the season and keyed into the present.
- Writing a seasonal newsletter – Sometimes it’s helpful to communicate with your customers in the long form. A seasonal newsletter can help you talk about everything that’s going on at your business, from your latest deals to your new Halloween-related products. Dust off your writer’s cap and start putting your thoughts into words. It could turn out to be a hit and leave your customers looking forward to a newsletter every month.
While some aspects of business might feel predictable or unchanging, your online marketing and branding can be flexible, changing, and react to the season. Reach as many customers as possible by tailoring your messaging and keeping things fresh and fun.
Remember the grown-ups
The neighborhood kids can’t be the only ones having all the fun this Halloween—the adults in your community deserve a good time as well.
Consider throwing an adults-only Halloween bash, local business trick or treat, or scavenger hunt—the adults in your community might jump at the chance to join in the fall fun at a kid-free event.
No matter what kind of event you decide to throw for local adults, consider teaming up with:
- A local daycare or youth community center in your area to provide safe, affordable childcare during your event
- A nearby taxi service (if you plan to provide alcohol to 21+ attendees) to help everyone get home safely
- A nearby restaurant, bar, or catering service to keep everyone fed and hydrated while they kick back in a kid-free zone
Update your Nextdoor Business Page
As you plan your Halloween marketing campaign, remember to update your Nextdoor Business Page with information about your seasonal tricks and treats. This will keep your local customer base in the loop and draw new clients to your door this fall.
Here are some tips for getting your Nextdoor Business Page into the spooky spirit:
- Change your profile picture to an orange and black version of your logo
- Post Halloween-themed updates to your profile
- Share your event or a community gathering you’re sponsoring
- Let the community vote on your staff’s Halloween costumes or choose this year’s theme
- Run a giveaway contest for customers who use your hashtag, like a post, or interact with the page
With the power of Nextdoor, you can communicate directly with nearby neighbors.
Advertise Halloween-themed products
Do you offer any Halloween-themed retail products, like decorations or costumes? What about seasonal drinks, limited-time offers, or fall sales? If you can, add a touch of Halloween spirit to your products.
Get creative with your product and service offers this Halloween, promoting them more than you would outside of October. This is the perfect time to move seasonal products, fill up your service calendar before the winter holidays, and show your community that you have an offer for all seasons:
- Create a photo collage of Halloween-themed products in your inventory
- Offer a seasonally-appropriate discount code for your online store
- E.g. “Use code PUMPKIN22 for free shipping”
- Post photos of your staff getting into the Halloween spirit
Harkins Theatres in Denver, Colorado, for example, capitalizes on the season to offer October Fright Nights. Throughout the entire month, they fill up their calendar with classic horror flicks which customers can come to watch and be completely spooked at a discounted price. Get creative and offer your own promotion for the whole month of October.
The best of Halloween is on Nextdoor
With a new set of Halloween marketing ideas, get excited to start setting out pumpkins and ghosts and preparing for a new wave of customers.
There’s no better way to directly reach your community to let them know what you have up your sleeve than on Nextdoor. Claim your free Business Page and start connecting with neighbors as excited as you are about your seasonal offerings.