Halloween is HOT, even when it’s cold outside. Last year, an estimated 158 million people celebrated Halloween, and they spent more than $6.9 billion on Halloween-related stuff — decorations; party supplies; crafts; candy; and costumes for adults, kids and pets.
Have people post pictures of themselves (or their kids or pets) in their costumes on your Facebook page, and get your fans to pick the winner by “Liking” their favorites. Give a really great prize to the winner, like a gift certificate to your store or a popular item donated by a vendor.
Paint or buy a Halloween backdrop, and take pictures of your customers (or their kids or pets) in costumes. Send them digital copies, and ask if you can post their pictures on your Facebook page or Pinterest board.
Offer a special discount to anyone who shops in a Halloween costume. You could do it just on Oct. 31 or for the whole week (Halloween is on a Friday this year). Make a big deal out of it.
Invite all the “ghouls” to hop on their broomsticks and head to your store for scary snacks; witches’ brew; and a flower-arranging demonstration, workshop or class.
Invite your customers in to learn some new pumpkin decorating ideas or carving techniques (you can find patterns, templates and ideas online). You could host multiple classes with different techniques. Be sure to have plenty of pumpkins to sell, including several novelty varieties in unusual colors, shapes and sizes that can’t be easily found elsewhere, as well as pumpkin carving tool kits. Post pictures on your Facebook page.
Work with other retailers in your shopping area to create a scavenger hunt for monsters that leads customers into all the participating stores. For example, in one store, customers might have to find a vampire figure, and in another, a Frankenstein figure. Once hunters find the figures, store staffers could stamp their monster-hunt cards, or for more fun, allow tech-savvy customers to verify their finds by “checking in” on their Facebook apps. Give everyone who completes the monster hunt a package of “monstrously” good gift certificates from participating stores.
Wrap a dead flower or two in black tissue and raffia. Tie a note on it, typed in creepy font, saying something like, “We wish you a lively Halloween. Come back in November for 20 percent off any item!” If you’re uncomfortable dealing in dead flowers, try spray-painting fresh or fabric flowers black for an equally eerie effect.
Check the Internet for free spooky music, 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.