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Promo Power

Halloween Promotions Dos and Don'ts

October 19, 2011 By: Alissa Ponchione


For any owner and operator, Halloween proves to be a tenuous time. Between planning for the event by buying extra supplies, adding more staff and security and figuring out how to differentiate your bar or club from your competitors, who also are capitalizing on Halloween, the holiday is nothing short of overwhelming. But forgoing a Halloween celebration altogether is even more detrimental to your business. Your guests want to go out and be seen in their costumes, so provide a haven for them but not before considering some dos and don’ts when it comes to throwing a fun, albeit safe, Halloween bash.

Don’t blend in. Be unique! Every other bar or club in the area will be having costume contests and ghoulish decorations, but step up what your establishment can offer. Cash prizes are certainly a good way to attract guests, but also reward guests for things other than best costume, such as “Most Timely Costume,” “Best Homemade Costume,” "Best Last-Minute Idea," etc.

Do create a theme for your staff. Nothing gets the night started off on the right note better than having staff dress up, but think about doing something together. Not only will this build morale, but also it will get everyone involved, as a team. Plus, your guests will love it.

Do set goals. Halloween is the perfect time to increase profits at your bar. Make sure that that your monetary goals outweigh what you spend on decorations, extra staff, promotional materials, marketing, etc. Remember to talk to liquor and beer suppliers to help out, as well as asking local businesses to donate food and other items for giveaways or contests.

Do have a plan. Usually it takes six weeks to plan a promotion, and with Halloween, you don’t want to procrastinate. You want your party to be on the forefront of guests' minds, so get started as soon as possible. If you miss out on crucial marketing opportunities early on, you’ll be scrambling to get things together at the last minute, and you’ll see how detrimental it will be when your Halloween party is subpar.

Don’t let crowds control you. Halloween brings out the most raucous clientele. Dressed up in costumes, costumers sometimes feel like they have free reign of your establishment. Set up guidelines early about what costumes you will and won’t allow in your venue. The last thing you need - or want - is an underage patron sneaking into your bar. Have a security plan ready and enough staff at the door throughout the night.

Don’t be unprepared. Halloween isn’t just another holiday, it’s a big day for beverages sales. Refresh your staff on responsible alcohol service, reviewing ID checking and other tactics that identify overconsumption. Halloween is supposed to be fun, but you don’t want your patrons getting out of control.

Do use social media. You have Facebook at your disposal, so use it to your advantage. For example, before your party, have your fans decide what signature drink you should serve or what costumes staff should wear. For those who participate, think about offering them specials during your Halloween party. After the celebration, keep things going by having fans log on and vote for their favorite costume of the night. Getting your fans involved will have them anticipating Halloween at your venue every year.


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