Holidays present a unique opportunity to get creative with your business marketing tactics and have some fun with your community — and October is a great month to engage your customers with Halloween marketing ideas. This is an especially good time for your business to get an all-important marketing push before the end-of-year holiday season officially starts.
When evaluating the following Halloween marketing ideas, it’s important to stay true to your brand, business model and customer base. Not every marketing idea will work for your unique business, but incorporating some of the following strategies can help your customers celebrate with your small business, and hopefully keep them coming back after Halloween, as well.
For businesses with a brick-and-mortar location, a super simple Halloween marketing idea is to decorate your storefront with Halloween-themed decor. Fake cobwebs, pumpkins, a makeshift scarecrow, spooky menu board or sidewalk sign are all inexpensive but fun ways to decorate your store and catch the eyes of passersby.
2. Host a costume party
Another option is to host an event in your business space to gather the community and encourage them to buy while having fun. Ask attendees 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 or via direct mail or email marketing.
Advertising for the party alone will be good for your business, but you can also offer special product discounts or services at the party to attract attendees.
3. Create themed products
Make limited edition products or menu items that will ignite the Halloween spirit in your customers. If you own a restaurant or cafe, for example, consider new menu items 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.
4. Offer spooky deals and discounts
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 limited-time offer. You can offer discounts to people who purchase a Halloween-themed product, or those who dress up for the holiday. This can help you draw customers in and could also provide some content to share on your social media channels or in a future business newsletter.
5. Dress up
Depending on your type of business, consider dressing in costume yourself while you’re on the floor or behind the register. If you have employees, you could coordinate a group costume for your entire staff to participate in. This could be relevant to your business itself or something fun from pop culture.
If an entire costume isn’t feasible, consider customizing Halloween-themed name tags, whether in the shape of a pumpkin of spiderweb or incorporating black and orange colors.
6. Welcome trick-or-treaters
What better way to increase foot traffic to your business than providing free candy for trick-or-treaters? You may also consider some branded swag or coupons to give out to the chaperones. Another option is to put out candy throughout the month of October to get some extra face time with your customers.
7. Host a Halloween contest or giveaway
This can be a great way to drive people to your physical storefront or increase your social media following. Post a Halloween-themed contest or customer appreciation giveaway to your social media accounts or advertise it in your store. Typically, people will need to take an action to enter the contest — giving an email address, following your account, tagging friends, etc. Be sure the rules and deadline to enter are clear, and to announce the winner.
8. Consider direct mail
Rather than wait for potential customers to come into your place of business, reach out to them proactively with a Halloween-themed direct mail campaign. You could send out small promotional items, Halloween-themed coupons or promote future events or contests. It’ll make your customers feel special while also encouraging them to visit your storefront or website.
9. Give out branded trick-or-treat bags
Whether you’re welcoming trick-or-treaters to your storefront or want to leave some treats out for taking, consider packaging them in a branded bag for some extra business promotion. It’s a great way to get your business’s name and logo out in the wild on a night when a good majority of the public will be out and about.
10. Partner with fall-themed attractions
October has a wealth of seasonal businesses that your business could partner with, including 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 the fun: Be the snack sponsor or provide some free products. While there, you could also hand out coupons for people to use the next time they visit your store or website.
Social media is an important part of any marketing strategy, and planning Halloween-themed posts, stories or videos is a great way to capitalize on the holiday while promoting your brand. The best platforms to use will depend on your business and target audience, but Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok are a few options to explore.
12. Host a pumpkin carving contest
This fall marketing idea is great because it can be done in the weeks leading up to Halloween, draws a crowd and you can end up with some extra decorations in the end. Depending on your space, you may be able to host it in or around your store, which can also help bring customers in to shop. Consider partnering with a local farm to help cut costs and provide cross-promotional opportunities for both your businesses.
A version of this article originally appeared on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.