How To Do Halloween Marketing the Right Way

October 13, 2016


Halloween is a fantastic time to bring a little bit of extra fun to your marketing efforts. Halloween is unique amongst holidays in that there are some distinctly Halloween-eque items, such as ghouls, jack-o-lanterns, and candy corn, Halloween provides a great opportunity for a business to be something else for a short period of time – at least until Halloween is over. While the spooky and whimsical are ideal candidates for Halloween, there are almost endless opportunities for fun marketing that appeals to all.

  • Have a shop or storefront? Are there any fun ways to make things spooky? United Kingdom-based supermarket chain Tesco created some haunted stations in one of their supermarket chains, delighting their customers and offering advice for recreating some of their tricks. For one day, it’s a treat!  The car manufacturing company Ford did something similar in 2014, using a car wash to terrify people test-driving their vehicles with monsters. Fun pranks like this can be perfect! 
  • Pay homage to scary horror films in creative ways! In 2013, Tide used the social platform Vine to create six-second videos featuring bottles of laundry detergent mimicking films. Their first project channeled Carrie, with an orange bottle of liquid detergent spilling out of the top at a prom with the tagline “Stains Better Be Scared.” Your small brand could use Vine or create a photo series and share on social media.
  •  Rental service Airbnb offered users a stay in the Paris Catacombs in 2015. In order to qualify, users needed to explain why they would be the bravest one to sleep and awaken in a space filled with bones. 
  • LG coupled the Halloween-themed statement “So Real It’s Scary” as a commentary for the quality of their services with the floor of a real elevator in 2012. The statement in combination with the video made for very memorable branding!
  • Car insurance company Progressive made a hit of their iconic spokeswoman Flo by offering an easy DIY-costume site to help anyone recreate her look, including downloadable templates. This allowed those dressing as Flo for Halloween to market Progressive all over their neighborhoods. 
  • In 2015, Burger King launched black buns flavored with A.1. sauce for United States consumers for Halloween. Burger King aficionados flocked to try this new product, which both played on the commonly used color of black for appeal and the closeness to the holiday for a special bump. 

How Smaller Brands Can Utilize Halloween

If you’re intimidated by some of the Halloween marketing of larger brands, there are many ways you can still bring attention to your business that can encourage your community and bring some fun to your business.

  • Host a pumpkin-carving contest in-store or your social media channels to win. If in-store, create a party around the contest that gets people in the door even if they’re not participating.
  • Offer a seasonal offering that is only valid around Halloween. Bonus points if it fits in the realm of nostalgia marketing. Hosting limited items creates a sense of urgency in their consumption.
  • Use your newsletter to get into the spirit! Are there any ghost stories in your town? Any notable historical facts? Any advice you can give?
  • Figure out how to incorporate some user-generated content in your efforts to bring some more attention to your social media efforts and overall website. Perhaps a costume contest? A scary ghost story? There are endless possibilities!
  • Offer discounted items for customers that use your service or visit your store in costume on Halloween! Something enticing can definitely draw in a lot of customers!
  • Decorate your storefront, website, and social media profiles! Use differently colored or eerie social cover banners, relate your social posts to Halloween, and place orange and black streamers all across your store! Small decorations can go a long way in getting everyone in the spirit.
  • Consider implementing a Halloween loyalty program, offering a BOGO or double points in the week leading up to the season.
  • Respin an existing promotion or content for Halloween. If there’s something you’ve already been promoting, you may be able to get some more attention to it by focusing it towards Halloween!
  • Offer a scavenger hunt on your site or social media profiles that gets people clicking through. Bonus points if the items are Halloween related!
  • Run a “Tweet or Treat” promo, offering a discount or giveaway for users that used your company in a Tweet most creatively.
  • Team up with other local businesses and stores to host a large event or series of sales that gets people out in your community. One way may be to host a children’s trick-or-treat, allowing kids to come to stores with extra promos for parents.

Halloween grants your brand the unique opportunity for creativity that can take your business in any direction you would like to for a short period of time. As a holiday, there are a good amount of dollars spent by consumers on this day, and there’s no reason not to take advantage of this! Even taking a small step for your business, even if you don’t see it as particular Halloweeny, can get others in the spirit and create a positive association for a potential customer! Use branding to your advantage – Halloween is a great place for this.