10 Out-of-the-Box Halloween Ideas for Small Business

Halloween Small Business

Those fun-sized candy bars can really add up.

Even though each piece of candy might not cost that much, somehow American’s spent $7 billion on Halloween in 2011, according to the National Retail Federation, putting it behind only Christmas as the biggest spending holiday of the year. And no matter what your business does, you can get in on the action, whether it’s throwing a party, hosting a haunted house, or making an even bigger point that you’re NOT celebrating Halloween.

Partner for a ghost hunt.

Most of your customers who can buy more than a pack of gum are going to be too old for trick or treating through your business and your neighbors. However, setting up a “ghost hunt” where customers go from business to business finding either toy/cutout ghosts or people dressed as them - with a prize at the end - can get them in the Halloween spirit and in the doors of some businesses they might not otherwise.

Use pumpkins. In everything.

Because people love pumpkins. If you’re a restaurant or bar, hey, they didn’t create pumpkin-flavored beer to drink on July 4th. But even if you’re a salon, who doesn’t like having Halloween-themed nails? Or face painting. Or just a decorative pumpkin in the front of an auto shop. Or, if you’re really ambitious, buy a ton of them from a farm and give them away with purchases. Just make sure they’re gone by November or you’re gonna get real sick of pumpkin bread.

Use it to launch holiday shopping.

Christmas promotions basically start in July now, but Halloween is a real chance to launch some big promotions you’re doing for the Holidays. Like if you’ve got a Buyers Reward program, offer it up to people coming in to Halloween shop and they’ll likely be back for Christmas.

Create a haunted house.

Of course, this will require having employees who are actually into the idea of dressing up and scaring people, but if your team is on board open up your business to the public on Halloween, create a theme (like scenes from scary movies, or a haunted restaurant or an evil doctor’s office) and let people wander through. It might be a lot of work, but it will make your business famous for something in addition to what you already do.

Do something different.

Maybe you feel like being the Grinch who stole Halloween. That’s perfectly fine, because not everybody wants to get into the spirit. You can offer an “alternative Halloween” by celebrating some other fall traditions. Or if you’ve got a business with products that can support it, promote “the un-scariest Halloween ever” by offering specials on normal haircuts or brake alignments. Or socks.

Hold a costume exchange.

National Costume Swap Day has been around since 2010, when presumably the guys behind Green Halloween looked in their closet and said “What the heck am I supposed to do with this Dick Cheney mask now?” And while some of the more-timely items might not lend themselves to this kind of exchange, it creates a great way for people to get costumes cheaply, get rid of their old stuff, and for you to get people into your business.

Throw a party.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t like a Halloween party. And, no matter what your business is, it’s an easy thing to do. Employees will come, but also invite valued or coveted clients and customers so you can get to know then while dressed as your favorite character from Twilight.

Reverse trick or treat.

Though nobody’s ever said “The Halloween season is about the giving,” that doesn’t mean you can’t anyway. So throw your whole neighborhood for a loop when you (or some of your employees) go around to houses giving away candy. Which leads us to our next point…..

Give away branded stuff.

If you’re doing reverse trick or treating, hit up a custom candy company and hand out stuff with your logo. Or if candy’s not your thing, give away something with your logo on it like a T-shirt, cozy, bottle opener or key chain. Just don’t hand out branded religious comics like that one lady who said she was giving you a much better gift than candy. Because that’s just weird.

Educate people on social media.

We already told you about how much people are spending on Halloween this year. But did you know that in 2012 people spend $370 million on animal costumes alone? And bought 900 million pounds of pumpkins? You can find all kinds of facts like this here, but creating your own info graphics and putting them on social media will gain you followers and even have viral potential.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Share this article with your followers:

Matt Meltzer

Matt Meltzer is a professor of business communication at the University of Miami. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and holds a bachelors degree in business administration from UM, as well as a Masters of Mass Communication from the University of Florida.