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9 Halloween Marketing Ideas for Local Businesses

9 Halloween Marketing Ideas for Local Businesses

By Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
Published: October 4, 2016 Updated: October 4, 2016

Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah aren’t the only upcoming holidays that will soon prompt consumers to open their wallets. Halloween is on the horizon — and for small businesses, it's getting more profitable every year. 2016 Halloween spending is projected to hit an all-time high of $8.4 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

With Americans of all ages eager to dress in costume, throw Halloween parties and consume candy, there's no denying that Halloween has become is one of America’s favorite holidays. Small businesses don’t have to sell costumes or candy to generate sales. Here are nine Halloween marketing ideas that will help any local business—whether retail, restaurant or service—scare up more business.

  1. Advertise Halloween discounts—but get creative. For example, offer customers a discount for dining at your restaurant in costume or sharing their best party-planning ideas on your social media pages.
  2. Add Halloween-themed or seasonal items to your offerings. People love limited-time products like Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte. A restaurant, bar, coffee house or bakery can attract fans of seasonal flavors with menu items like pumpkin-flavored drinks and desserts. A beauty salon can offer hair and makeup services for Halloween parties, or create spooky nail art.
  3. Print out promotions. Promotional products related to Halloween, such as glow sticks, pumpkin-carving designs, spooky decals or trick-or-treat bags with your business logo will keep your business in customers' minds all month long.
  4. Sponsor a local Halloween event. Look for Halloween parades, trick-or-treat events, parties, zombie walks or haunted houses held by local community organizations that you can sponsor. Ask if you can hand out promotional products, coupons or product samples.
  5. Create a Halloween contest for your customers. Make it relevant to your business or better still, crowd source ideas from your customers. For example, a pet store could hold a best pet costume contest; an interior decorator can have a contest for the most elaborate home or front door decor; a craft store could hold a poster-coloring contest for kids.
  6. Advertise on cable television. October is prime time for spooky, Halloween-themed programming that gets many people to tune in. If it’s in your budget, advertise on a horror series like American Horror Story or The Walking Dead, or during one of the many Halloween movie marathons found on cable this month. Other options that might fit your budget include advertising via social media or via live-streamed shows online. 
  7. Partner up. Join other local businesses in your community and host a trick-or-treat night or scavenger hunt for local children. As kids go from one business to another with parents or guardian in tow, you can hand the parents coupons or other discount offers.
  8. Mail greeting cards. No one expects to get a Halloween card—but you’ll get a head start on holiday mailings and be top-of-mind when customers open yours. Include a special offer, a thank-you or just seasonal greetings.
  9. Support a charitable organization. Offer customers treats in return for “treating” those in need by bringing in canned goods, gently used toys or clothing, or whatever the local charity of your choice is looking for. Publicize your charitable efforts on social media and with local reporters to get more people to pitch in (and visit your business).

What Halloween marketing ideas are you planning to use for your business this year?

About the Author:

Rieva Lesonsky
Rieva Lesonsky

Guest Blogger

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at and visit to sign up for her free TrendCast reports. She's been covering small business and entrepreneurial issues for more than 30 years, is the author of several books about entrepreneurship and was the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine for over two decades