Halloween was the best when I was a kid.
Tricking, treating, running, laughing and eating our way into sugar oblivion, we roamed the neighborhood in search of, if not the next big thing, then at least the next big candy haul.
Halloween today is different, and not just for the kids - especially not just for the kids. Maybe you have noticed that these days it is the adults who tend to run wild on Halloween. According to the National Retail Federation:
- Since 2009, spending on Halloween by adults has more than doubled – from a little over $4 billion to now almost $9 billion a year
- 47% of all adults said they expected to dress in costume this year
- 29 million people plan to dress their pets in costume for Halloween
- Read next: The Booming Business of Pet Pampering by Rieva Lesonsky
As a small business, you may be tempted to avoid the Halloween boo-ha-habut let me suggest that embracing the spirit of the holiday is – if not more fruitful – then at least very sweet (and if you think I am out of Halloween puns, you are sadly mistaken!)
Make your store and neighborhood super kid awesome. Given that trick-or-treating is now often done in more controlled environments with lots of supervision, it has become an opportunity for the smart small business owner.
Look to team up with nearby businesses and with your neighborhood association to make your business/office building/block/area a Halloween destination for kids and parents.
- Decorate the store: Outfitting the shop in a Halloween motif is an easy win. Add orange and black to the windows, put pumpkins on the stoop, and even consider playing some “spooky” music in the days and weeks around the holiday. Halloween decorations are fun for everyone – customers, passers-by, employees, and ghosts and goblins of all ages.
- Prepare the neighborhood: While you are at it, look to add some street decorations and be sure your business neighbors are ready with candy for the kids and coffee and other treats for the adults.
After that, make sure to advertise that your area will be a fun Halloween destination leading up to and on Halloween.
Then, rather than being a “ghost” town on Halloween, yours will be super-ghoul.
Get Even Spookier
Here are a few additional ideas:
- Have a pumpkin carving contest, with the winner getting a store discount.
- Welcome costumes: A costume contest – or even just allowing your staff to dress up in their costumes during Halloween week – is not only fun, it is also a social media winner. Posting pictures on Instagram and Facebook of the different costumes in your shop (and of the pumpkin contest!) will generate some social media love.
- Party on: Everybody has a holiday party, but you can be different – and just maybe better – by hosting a Halloween party. Given that folks without kids are often looking for something to do on Halloween, making your business a destination that night will allow folks to eat, drink and be scary.
- Offer Halloween deals: Finally, remember that people always love a good deal. If Halloween is your excuse, it’s not a bad one. By offering a sale on something tangentially related to the holiday, you can gain some holiday traction.
Go ahead, jump in. Halloween is all the rage. Doing so will allow you to creep it real!
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss
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