Halloween is HOT… even when it’s cold outside. Last year over 171 million people celebrated Halloween and they spent over 8.4 billion dollars (The NRF is estimating consumers will spend $9.1 billion this year!) on Halloween related stuff – decorations, party supplies, crafts, candy, and costumes for adults, kids, and pets. That’s a whole lot of scary going on!
First off, make sure you get your piece of the Halloween profits by carrying Halloween-themed merchandise. That’s easy to do if you have a home decor store that carries decorations or a toy store that carries costumes. But even if you don’t carry traditional Halloween merchandise you can still bring in related items. For instance, a women’s apparel boutique might bring in orange chiffon scarves, dangly skull earrings, scary socks, black sparkly fingernail polish, and order a pile of feathery witches hats just for fun. Individually the items are just cool accessories (well, except the hats), but merchandised together they shriek, “Halloween!”
Even if you don’t carry a single piece of Halloween-y merchandise, you can still attract customers to your store with fun retail Halloween promotions. Here are ten ideas to get you started…
10 Retail Halloween Promotions
Hold a Facebook costume contest.
Have people post a picture of themselves (or their kids or their pets) in their costume on your Facebook page and get your fans to pick the winner by clicking LIKE on their favorite costume. Give a really great prize to the winner, like a gift certificate to your store or a popular item donated by a vendor.
Host a “Witches” night out.
A Halloween version of a “girls night out,” this party idea was posted on our WhizBang! Retailers page. Invite all the “witches” to hop on their broomsticks and head to your store for scary snacks, witches brew, and whatever it is you do best – whether it’s a fashion show, a hands-on quilting or crafting session, or a mountain bike trail ride. Remember to have your team trained and ready to sell when the shoppers pour through your doors!
Give away dead flower bouquets.
Ask your neighborhood florist if they will give you all their leftover, yucky, wilting, drooping, dying and dead posies for your dead flower bouquets. Wrap a dead flower or two in black tissue and raffia. Make the bouquet a “bounce back coupon” by tying a little note in creepy font saying something like, “Bob’s Boutique wishes you a lively Halloween… Come back in November for 20% off any item!”
Offer free face-painting.
The weekend before Halloween, offer free face-painting for party goers. The trick is to hire some college-aged or teen-aged face painters and teach them a few simple designs so they can do lots of people quickly… Frankenstein scar, cut with a drip of blood, sparkly green and purple eye makeup, zombie eyes, a witches wart, etc. You and your team should model the designs.
Give a mix of spooky music.
Check the internet for free spooky music (please don’t steal copyrighted stuff!) and make an eerie Halloween music mix for your customers. Burn some CDs, make a great label that includes your store contact info, and invite customers into the store to pick one up for their Halloween parties or to play when kids come trick or treating.
Host a haunted stockroom.
This one takes a little work, but can be so fun. Turn your stockroom into a haunted house – complete with a ghost story that you drip out via email in the weeks before Halloween. Depending on your customers you could create a fun haunted stockroom or a really scary one. Just google “haunted house ideas” and you’ll find everything from the most kid-friendly to the truly macabre… People will flock to tour your haunted stockroom, and while they are waiting their turn they can browse and buy!
Design a themed photo booth.
Paint or buy a Halloween backdrop (you can find everything from a haunted mansion to a smiling pumpkin patch) and take pictures of your customers, their kids, or pets in costumes. Send them digital copies and ask if you can post their selfies on your Facebook page or Pinterest board.
Host a pumpkin carving class.
Invite your customers in to learn some new pumpkin decorating or carving techniques – especially ones they might have seen on Pinterest but were too intimidated to try. You could have multiple classes with different techniques. If you’re not the crafty kind, find someone who will love to teach the class for you in exchange for a store gift certificate. Don’t forget to post pictures of their pumpkins to all of your social media sites!
Discount purchases for customers in costume.
The easiest of them all… offer a special discount for anyone who shops in a Halloween costume. You could do it just on October 31st or run the promotion for the whole week and make a big deal out of it.
Coordinate a monster hunt through town.
Work with other retailers in your town or shopping district and create a scavenger hunt for monsters that leads customers to all the different stores. In one store they might have to find a hidden vampire figure and check in with him on Facebook to get a vampire stamp on their monster hunt card, in another store they might be searching for Frankenstein. Give everyone who completes the monster hunt a package of “monstrously” good gift certificates from the participating stores.