Halloween is the scariest international holiday. And one of the most overdressed. Needless to say, that it’s one of the most intense social media activity days, that can last a week. And the most ‘instagrammable’ one for sure. So, if you don’t want to trick your customers by ignoring the fact of Halloween, you’d better treat them with an outrageous amount of marketing ideas. And candy.
The history of the holiday is a prolific mix of ancient Celtic rituals, Christian spiritual traditions, and a sparkle of The Great Depression teenage mischief.
It started approximately in 100 BC as a Samhain holiday to celebrate the end of the harvest season. And to prepare Celts for the dead season of winter. They believed that right at this period the line between the two worlds (live and dead) is getting very thin and some ghosts or spirits can get through.
Ancient people celebrated Samhain with feasts, bonfires, and offerings to the souls of the dead. To treat the evil spirits and to ward them off. They also dressed in animal skin costumes to confuse the evil.
In the Middle Ages, The Catholic church made a religious-friendly upgrade of a Samhain holiday and named November, the1st—All Saints’ Day. The night before it was called All Hallow’s Eve (“hallow” meaning holy), which transformed into good-old “Halloween” as we know it now.
Halloween traditions are intertwined with its history. For example, during The Great Depression time, the treating part of the holiday has found the mischievous brother—the trick component. Not all families were able to perform a treat feast to the strangers in costumes, so they got pranked. And it became a new world spread tradition of trick-and-treat.
Halloween is one of the biggest carnivals that involves the whole world! Seriously, for many adults, the 31st of October is like Xmas for kids. Long-awaited and surprisingly fun. It’s a great chance to awaken your inner child, to get creative and join the feast with other kids on the block. A nice opportunity to become somebody else. Or something else. Making a costume for Halloween is the most prominent tradition of all.
Another way to light up this holiday is to put as many candles as possible everywhere. But be careful, too many candles are dangerous and can set your place on fire! Many people use string lights as an alternative to candles and wrap their houses with them. Inside and outside. The best Halloween options are the ones with orange lights.
Choose one or enjoy them all. You can’t get overactive on Halloween. But be careful—some holiday activities need to be planned way in advance.
Trick-or-treating. The core activity of the holiday. A cute tradition for underaged kids to put on some amazing costumes and go out to the neighborhood, knocking at the doors and asking for candy by saying “trick-or-treat”.
Marketing tip: Great timing to promote for those who are in a candy, make-up, or carnival costumes business. Others can adapt the idea of knocking at the doors and go for a creative direct mail. Bonus discounts for those in costumes will also do the trick (and treat). Anything that involves the customer into the action or reaction is effective.
Eating candies. Candy is official holiday food. So, it’s a divine time to shuffle the scales under the bed and embrace the bucket of lollipops and chocolate bars. Kids love this sort of dinner for a change. Sorry not sorry, broccoli.
Marketing tip: Give away candy. Literally and figuratively. Digitally and personally.
Pumpkin carving. A really creative activity that fascinates all ages. Pumpkin carving or Jack-o-lantern making requires minimum art skills and maximum desire to make a scary face. Or a creepily nice one. The squashy content of pumpkin goes away to become a pie (if it’s lucky enough) and the empty insides are getting lit by a candle or LED light as a safe option.
Marketing tip: Create everything-pumpkin designs for social media. Throw a giveaway or make a discount for those who nail the most creative pumpkin carving.
Dressing in costumes. Everybody pretends to be someone different from time to time. And this is an occasion to do it as bright and fashionable as possible. Halloween is the only time of the year where you can see a demon and an angel chatting peacefully while waiting for the subway train.
Marketing tip: Do a contest and treat the winner with a discount for making the best, the most complicated Halloween costume.
Pranking. Funny and insulting, witty and lame—pranks are an inevitable part of Halloween culture. Teens can bomb-wrap a house with tons of toilet paper or put super glue on a doorknob. Watch out!
Marketing tip: Social media are made for pranks. Start a prank challenge. Or prank your company rival. But stay focused. You need a good laugh and a loyal customer. Not an insult and going out of business right after.
Parade walking. So many costumes can’t stay unnoticed—that’s why many cities and towns organize a big parade of costumes. Or a carnival to be exact. New York hosts the biggest and the craziest one.
Marketing tip: If your place doesn’t have a Halloween parade yet—start one! That is a bold marketing statement. And a chance to have the best place at the show.
House decorating. Overdecorating to be exact. They say some go crazy on Christmas. LOL! The madness of house decorating starts on Halloween. Haunted houses, psychiatry wards, graveyards, and vampire mansions—that’s the little scoop of ideas to stand out from the crowd.
Marketing tip: Nobody marketing sane can ignore the power of Halloween decorations. It’s catchy, it’s spooky, and it brings your business and your customers together. So you’d better hurry up and plan your decor in advance. Even if it’s online! Ask your followers to help you with ideas for a cool cover image of the FB group, or throw a contest for the best brand Insta avatar for the period of Halloween.
Fortune telling. This activity goes along with the mysterious and witchy part of the holiday. Cards, crystal balls, palm reading, even apple picking from the bowl of water serve people who want to know the fortune.
Marketing tip: Tell your users they’re going to have lots of treats this and next year!
Watching horrors. Very homey activity that needs minimum struggle. Just pick the scariest movie and you’ll be totally Halloweened.
Marketing tip: Catch the wave and create your own list of top horror movies to make it viral on social media.
Don’t forget to look through the colors and symbols of the holiday for inspiration. For the digital part, you can download free patterns and samples from VistaCreate designed by pros exactly for these types of occasions. Or get some free printables to make your own designs.
Every holiday has its number of symbols. Knowing them makes it easy to perform your best in any advertising activities from the digital trendy variants to the old school offline store decorations. Due to its very mixed origin, Halloween has got 3 major groups of symbols.
Harvest—pumpkins, apples, scarecrows, corn shocks, candy corn or anything else related to the harvest. Crafted avocado honey? Bring it on!
Death—Ghosts, graveyards, skeletons, zombies, haunted houses, or anything else related to death. The Death Star will do too.
Evil creatures and objects—Jack-o-lanterns, witches, brooms, spiders, webs, goblins, black cats, crows, owls, monsters, or anything else evil-related. Your business rival, for example.
Templates for Halloween