8 Halloween Marketing Ideas Any Business Owner Can Do

If your seasonal marketing strategy overlooks October, you could be making a frightfully big mistake. According to the National Retail Federation, 40% of consumers typically begin their holiday shopping before Halloween — but 2020 is anything but typical.

Pandemic or not, MarketWatch says Oct. 10th, 2020 will signal the start of this holiday shopping season. “If the consumer does what we think they’re going to do, which is be in the mood to start shopping around 10/10, it’s going to be good news for retailers. The more volume that they can start to see being transacted earlier, the less pressure the closer they get to Christmas.”

Whether consumers are worried about packages arriving on time, or they’re simply in need of some holiday spirit, this particular October could be a big month for business owners.

8 Free (& affordable) Halloween Marketing Ideas

As if 2020 hasn’t been scary enough, spooky season is upon us. Is your marketing cauldron empty? Don’t worry, here are ideas you can do now to scare up more October sales.

We present you our eight highly affordable Halloween marketing ideas all business owners — no matter what you sell — can do below.

1. Embrace Quaran-ween

A whopping 73% of consumers expect to celebrate Halloween differently this year, says Market Watch, which means the content you share must also be different.

Halloween parties and trick-or-treating may be canceled, and yet October can still be filled with pumpkins, candy, and eye-popping jump-scares.

Show your followers how to celebrate a quarantine-friendly Halloween (the more relevant to your brand, the better) with custom themed blog and social media content.

Some ideas to get started:

  • Share a different scary movie each week in October.
    • (If your target audience is likely to have kids, include family-friendly options.)
  • Make a Halloween-themed cocktail or cocktail menu.
    • (Share the ingredient list beforehand so your followers can make it along with you.)
  • Give out Halloween recipes and ask followers to tag you in their own creations.
    • (Option: Include one must-have ingredient so followers can compare their creative ingredient uses.)
  • Create Halloween craft tutorials for kids and families.

If you (or a team member) is comfortable on camera, you can supercharge this tactic by going live on Facebook or Instagram.

In an episode of Buffer’s podcast, The Science of Social Media, Michael Stelzner, CEO and founder of Social Media Examiner, says doing so can boost the reach of your content overall. “The more we go live,” Stelzner said, “the more our non-live content gets exposure in the Facebook News Feed.”

“The more we go live,” Stelzner said, “the more our non-live content gets exposure in the Facebook News Feed.”

2. Evoke Nostalgia

Many of your followers will be feeling a little wistful for Halloweens past (and in-person events), so use this opportunity to connect over that shared emotion.

Tina Kelly, chief marketing officer at Casual Astronaut, a Digital & Content Marketing Agency, recommends having a little fun with your customers/clients by asking them to share Halloween memories.

“Halloween is a nostalgic time for most people, so you should channel that when developing ideas for Halloween promotions,” says Kelly. “Develop a quiz that people can take to determine what 80s TV character they should dress up as or run a photo sweepstakes calling for the funniest vintage photos from Halloween. We all have those awkward photos from our youth — who can forget those plastic costumes and masks?”

3. Offer a Mystery Deal

What would October be without the element of surprise? Increase Instagram engagement by promoting a “mystery deal” to your followers.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Ask followers to create an Instagram story that details what product or service they would like of yours and have them tag your account.
  • Designate an employee or intern to handle replies since stories are only up for 24 hours and will need a quick response.
  • Reply with a mystery discount code like TRICKORTREAT, SPOOKY, or BOO so they won’t know the percentage off until they’re at check out.

Not on Instagram? You can apply this strategy with minimal tweaks to any social media account where you have a strong presence.

4. Scare up User-Generated Content

User-generated content is 35% more memorable than “traditional media and other non-user-generated content,” says Buffer. This is why the power of UGC should be a big part of your Halloween marketing strategy. Not sure how to get started? Everyone loves a good ghost story. Ask your social media followers to submit their best paranormal tale via email for a chance to win a free product or service.

Here are a few tricks to pulling this off:

  • Share winning entries with followers on social media or read them aloud on Facebook or Instagram Live.
  • Repurpose this spooky content on your blog and via email marketing throughout the month of October.
  • Give each entrant a percentage off, BOGO offer, or free shipping code to encourage sales.

Not into the darker side of October? Substitute the ghost story for a favorite fall tradition or memory.

5. Hold a Virtual Costume Contest

Costumes are an integral part of Halloween — but the COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on the usual festivities. However, you can still encourage your followers to have a little Halloween fun.

Stephanie Riel, founder and CEO of RielDeal Marketing, suggests holding a virtual costume contest to connect with your customers and promote your business.

“With this campaign, the business could have their fans submit a photo or video of them (or their pets!) in costume for a chance to win a gift card or other virtual prize from the business,” Riel says. “This is easy for the business to execute and fun to see the participants in their costumes, too. Best of all, it becomes engaging content for getting people to talk about, mention, or engage with the business on social media.”

6. Keep It Scary-Simple

Not too into Halloween or don’t have the time to run a more involved contest? Make it easy on yourself by holding a Halloween giveaway that doesn’t ask much of your followers (or yourself) — but is likely to grow your following and generate leads.

  • Ask entrants to follow your page, like the post, and tag a friend in comments.
  • Encourage entrants to leave their favorite Halloween emoji in comments to give it a more seasonal feel.
  • When announcing the winner(s), offer a discount code so all entrants feel appreciated and are more likely to remain a follower.

7. Haunt Your Local Audience

If you have a largely local target market, consider running a giveaway that encourages them to seek out local lore and share traditions.

April Atwood, product marketing manager at Desert Financial Credit Union, suggests a ‘7 Days of Halloween’ promotion as “a fun spin on the traditional Christmas promotion.” The key here is that each entrant must participate for all seven days for a chance to win a prize. (If seven days is too long, substitute for whatever number is manageable for you and your team.)

“Come up with a prize, which can be store credit, cool swag, or a popular product. Whatever the prize is, it has to be enticing enough to garner sustained engagement,” Atwood notes.

Here are Atwood’s tips for running this promotion:

  • Each day of the promotion, ask a question or give a prompt on your social media channels. (“Tell us about your favorite local haunted house” or “Share pictures of your neighborhood’s festivities.”)
  • Keep the prompts locally oriented and family-friendly.
  • Your team should be ready to engage with all who respond and keep the conversation going. After the promotion is over, collect the names of all who engaged every day and randomly select a winner.

But don’t forget about the non-winners. “You can even throw in a short-term discount code at the end of the contest to encourage those who didn’t win to visit your online store,” Atwood says. “Holiday promotions should always be more than a simple sale, and social media is the perfect platform for jovial and unique customer interactions.”

8. Poll Your Followers — October Style

Interactive content is a fun way to get more engagement on your social media accounts, which, in turn, can boost organic reach and help your business stand out. Plus, you can easily repurpose responses into social posts, blog posts, graphics, and email content.

From the preferred quarantine Halloween snack to the scariest movies to watch, poll your followers on their October preferences and then share the results with your followers.

  • What is the scariest movie to watch on Halloween?
  • What is the worst/best Halloween candy?
  • Who is the most frightening Halloween villain?
  • How are you spending Halloween this year?
  • Do you watch scary movies alone?
  • Have you ever seen a ghost?
  • What is the best part of October?

Use Instagram or Facebook to showcase the results of each poll and continue the conversation. (Example: “89% of our followers say candy corn is the worst Halloween candy — do you agree?”) These interactions keep your brand top of mind and allow you to engage with customers on a more personal level.

Have a Wickedly Profitable October

Halloween might look different this year, but you can keep the spirit alive by running affordable promotions all month long. With a little work and a lot of creativity, you can enchant your followers and summon up more sales in October and beyond.


The pandemic has made the prospect of seasonal sales a little grim, but all is not lost. Business owners can whip up a marketing strategy that starts in October and takes advantage of the fun of Halloween to increase engagement, leads, and profit.

Ideas include:

  • Virtual costume contest
  • Halloween-themed polls
  • User-generated content
  • Product or service giveaways

Want to keep your audience spellbound with interactive content and giveaways? Woobox Support is available from 9 am to 5 pm PST, Mon. through Fri at 1-360-450-5200 and support@woobox.com.