Boo! Did we scare you?
It’s easy to get a customer’s attention with Halloween-themed small business marketing ideas. October is a great month to engage your consumer base in fun, simple—and yes, perhaps spooky—ways. Bonus? It’ll be good for your business to get that all-important marketing push just before the holidays.
Some marketing ideas work better for some businesses than others, but don’t worry: We’re not short on ideas. We’ve got everything from online to real life, from highly involved to the most basic-to-execute. Take a look below and decide how you can join in the annual Halloween festivities while bringing in some new customers.
Below are some Halloween marketing ideas you can try and implement around the Halloween holiday to help your customers celebrate with your small business, and hopefully keep them coming back after Halloween is over and the holiday shopping season is in full swing.
For businesses with a brick-and-mortar location, a super simple way to get in the Halloween spirit is to decorate your storefront with Halloween-themed decor. Be as wild and crazy as you want—but know that you don’t have to break the bank. Fake cobwebs, pumpkins, a makeshift scarecrow, and more are all inexpensive but fun ways to decorate your store.
Just about every drugstore has quick and easy decor to dress up your store and delight your customers. At the very least, a spooky menu board or sidewalk board can be created with some chalk and a little imagination.
Another one of our Halloween marketing ideas is to invite people to your place of business to celebrate the spookiest month of the year. Ask them to dress up and then provide snacks, drinks, and maybe a festive soundtrack. You can get the word out on social media, with flyers at your storefront, and even with mailed invitations.
Advertising for the party alone will be good for your business, but you can also offer special product discounts or services at the party itself to attract attendees.
Another way to do this is to offer discounts or specials on Halloween itself for only those customers who are dressed up for the holiday. This can help you draw customers in and help make the business more festive on the holiday.
Make limited edition products or menu items that will ignite the Halloween spirit in your customers. If you own a restaurant or cafe, consider new menu items and table decor to go along with the holiday. It’s pretty clear that the pumpkin spice craze isn’t going anywhere, and there are countless ways to incorporate ghouls, ghosts, witches, and other spooky characters or items into your product plan.
Starbucks is a good example of a company partaking in the Halloween craze: People can’t get enough of their reusable Halloween cups, some people are even reselling the cups at a huge markup. A product like Halloween-themed cups are great because you can use any leftovers the following year.
You don’t always need a reason to provide discount pricing, but attaching deals to holidays is a great way to resonate with your customers and encourage them to take you up on the offer in a way that feels special. It’s certainly one of the Halloween marketing ideas that’s sure not to “scare” them away.
You can offer discounts to people who purchase a Halloween-themed product, or those who dress up for the holiday. Offering your customers discounts around the holiday fun might actually lead to them shopping for more products than they would otherwise.
Have your staff dress up at work—it’ll be good for your customers to come in and see your business having a little fun. It’s also great fodder for your Facebook and Instagram. You can even have everyone coordinate outfits for a specific theme.
For example, one day have everyone dress up in ’60s-themed go-go garb. The next, you’re the cast from “Friday Night Lights.” Just make sure your employees stick to what’s work appropriate for your business and make it easy, so they don’t have to spend big on their costumes.
Another of our Halloween marketing ideas would be to change the employee uniforms for the holiday season. Maybe make their name-tags something Halloween themed like a spider web or a pumpkin cutout. It can be fun to create their new name tags and won’t require they spend any of their hard-earned wages on a costume.
What better way to increase foot traffic to your business than providing free candy for the youngsters? Include coupons with your handouts to make sure their parents come back to you even after the holiday is over.
You can also put out candy throughout the month leading up to Halloween. Offering your customers a sweet treat can leave them with a positive view of your business. A little treat can go a long way and offers you the chance to get some face-time in with your customers or offer them a coupon or deal for their next visit.
Post a contest or customer appreciation giveaway to your social media accounts or advertise it in your store—just make it spooky or fall-themed for October. Everyone loves a chance to win something, especially if it’s Halloween related.
A gift card for your store’s goods or services is one of the Halloween marketing ideas that involves giving something away, but can actually end up getting you more business. Statistically, when people shop with a gift card they actually end up spending more than it’s worth, which works out great for you as a business owner.
Make your avatars, profile photos, and headers all Halloween-themed—from Facebook to your website to your email newsletter. Spookify your logo or other branding while you’re at it. You can even create a Halloween-focused #hashtag related to your business that customers can post about or share.
It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. You can simply use the stickers and other available virtual decor on the apps you use, like Instagram. Showcasing photos of the store and advertising the events or contests you have coming up is also a great way to do this.
Your ecommerce platform might have some Halloween additions you can make to your website, like the ones Shopify offers. If not, explore the different fonts available to you on your website and maybe consider adding something spooky to your logo for the month of October.
Use your direct mail Rolodex to send out bags of candy, Halloween-themed coupons, or other engagement tactics. It’ll make your customers feel special and help them get in the Halloween spirit—with your business in mind.
You can even mention some of the events or giveaways mentioned above if you choose to do any of them.
It’s relatively cheap to create some plastic bags with a spookified version of your logo on them—250 custom bags can run under $150. It’s a great way to get your business’s logo out in the wild on a night when a good majority of the public will be out and about. Leave them out at your storefront for the taking or send them in a direct mail campaign.
If you’re an eco-friendly small business maybe you’ll choose to offer more durable reusable bags for your customers to use. That way, they’ll use the bag with your logo on it over and over, exposing more people to your brand and helping to eliminate plastic bag use—it’s a win-win!
October has a wealth of seasonal businesses that your business could attach itself to—haunted houses, apple picking farms, cornfield mazes, and pop-up costume stores. See if there’s a way for your business to insert itself in all the fun—be the coffee or snack sponsor, or provide some free product to these attractions that’ll gain visibility with their customers.
While there, you could also hand out coupons for people to use the next time they visit your store or business.
Just like updating your website, you should adjust your social media strategy across your accounts to be Halloween-y as well. You can update your profile image in the different sites and add emojis to your description.
Don’t forget to share news of all your Halloween offerings online on your social media as well!
This idea is great because it can be done in the weeks leading up to Halloween, draws a crowd, and you can end up with store-branded pumpkins in the end. The cost is fairly low because you don’t need much, plus if you host it in or around your store, it can help bring customers in to shop who might have come by to check out the carving. If you’re able to partner with a local farm, that could cut down costs and improve business even more.
Offer a prize for the best company-themed pumpkin design and consider making it a gift card or some free goods or services from your company or store.
A simple yet festive of our Halloween marketing ideas is playing Halloween music in your store or business to get people in the holiday spirit. Definitely incorporate the music into the activities you host, but why not also play it on the days leading up to Halloween? You can find premade playlists online from most streaming services, or you can make your own if you’re feeling ambitious. It might attract customers who are tired of the same-old from their usual haunts.
If “spooky” really isn’t really in line with your business branding or goals, know that October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A good cause and a great opportunity to gain visibility in a philanthropic way. Think about how your business might support breast cancer awareness—provide pink ribbons, decorate with pink ribbons or signs in your store, or accept donations on behalf of an organization of your choosing at your business.
Meredith Wood is the founding editor of the Fundera Ledger and a vice president at Fundera.
Meredith launched the Fundera Ledger in 2014. She has specialized in financial advice for small business owners for almost a decade. Meredith is frequently sought out for her expertise in small business lending and financial management.