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13 Halloween Marketing Ideas for Local Businesses

Did you know that Americans spend billions – yes, billions – of dollars every year on Halloween-related goods and services? One of your marketing goals should be to get people to spend more of those dollars on your goods or services. There are lots of fun and profitable ways to incorporate Halloween (and other holidays, for that matter) into your annual marketing strategy.

What comes to mind when you think of Halloween? Pumpkins? Ghosts and goblins? Bats and spiders? Witches and mysterious brews? Haunted houses? All of these, no doubt, plus costumes and simply the color orange. There’s a lot of thematic marketing material here, whether your local business is a restaurant, retail shop, spa, gym, health or home improvement service of some kind.

  1. Anybody can decorate for the occasion by adding a few faux cobwebs, some black crepe or a nice bat. Or just use pumpkins. Need inspiration? Check out this article. Who knew you could decorate pumpkins in so many ways? Let your imagination go wild, whatever your business! Add to the ambiance by playing popular Halloween music or spooky sounds.
  2. “Decorate” your staff, too, by encouraging them to wear costumes or dress all in black.
  3. Salons can offer “scary” manicures and spooky hair-dos. Or do a special promotion that offers hair and makeup for Halloween parties.
  4. Restaurants and bars have it easy. There’s no shortage of pumpkin-based recipes you can conjure up for everything from appetizers, main dishes and desserts to beverage concoctions any witch would be proud of. Hold a contest or let customers vote for their faves.
  5. If you’re a chiropractor, focus your Halloween decorating around skeletons. Offer a discount on spinal alignment.
  6. If you’re a pool or yard service and things are winding down, use an image of a decrepit mansion or a brackish pool to promote winterizing or to offer an early-bird discount for next spring, if people sign up by Halloween.
  7. And if you’re a dentist, well, what’s Halloween most known for? Candy. Many dentists now offer candy exchanges, inviting kids to turn in their Halloween loot in return for something like tooth care products. What kid would want to do that? Surely you can be more creative, and in the process you’ll attract more attention and appreciation from parents. Why not enter participating kids in a drawing for a few coveted prizes such as an X-Box or child-appropriate video games? Turn the event into an open house, or hold it in conjunction with another business or a local charity.
  8. Hold a face-painting event for kids. It’s a great way to get parents in your door, and they can shop, work out, get a mani-pedi or you-name-it while the young ones are getting decorated.
  9. Hold a face-painting event for adults. A talented artist can do amazing things to turn faces into all manner of animals, not to mention scary personages.
  10. Every community has at least one haunted house, usually put on by a charity. Purchase a block of tickets and give them away as a “thanks for shopping with us” treat.
  11. Participate in your community’s multi-business trick or treat event for kids. It’s a great way to reinforce your name and “good vibes” with parents. Give away coupons along with candy.
  12. Do a special “no tricks, just treats” promotion exclusively for your loyalty program customers.
  13. Share your pre- and post-Halloween photos via social media and on your website.

Halloween-specific marketing activities not only boost sales, they help build broader awareness about your local business. It’s a little late to do a proper postcard marketing campaign to promote your Halloween specials, but that’s a superb way to market holiday activities. Plan ahead next year, so you don’t miss this frighteningly good advertising opportunity.

photo credit: peddhapati via photopin cc

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