6 Halloween Marketing Ideas for Restaurants

Zombies, ghosts and goblins will be descending upon your town next week, and there’s no better excuse to let your creativity run wild with fun – or creepy – campaigns. So, treat your guests to a Spooktacular experience this Halloween and cash in on the fast-growing holiday market. Check out these Halloween promotion ideas…we think they’re to die for:

Host a costume party. If you’re a family-friendly joint, give a discount or free appetizer or dessert to guests who show up in costume. Parents will be carting their kids from school parades to trick-or-treating hotspots, so give them an incentive to stop in for a quick bite. More adult-oriented? Make your establishment a must-stop spot for costumed bar-hoppers. Host a contest to pick the best (or scariest or most creative, etc.) costume and reward the winner with a hefty grand prize.

Give customers the creeps. Don’t let your guests have all the fun themselves! Decorate your restaurant with cobwebs, candles, pumpkins, talking skeletons and other seasonal favorites. You could go classic fall with a pumpkin patch theme and a pumpkin-carving station for the kiddos. Or, go full-on spooky with the haunted house treatment, complete with a ghastly soundtrack and expertly placed heads in jars. Involve your team too. When your staff embraces the festivities, and dresses up in costume as well, your customers will be all the more bewitched.

Update your menu in the spirit of the season. Let your chefs go crazy with all the things pumpkin, spices, apples and other fall staples. If that’s not your style, consider repurposing existing dishes, if only in name. Tomato soup becomes Vampire’s Feast, for instance. Especially if you serve desserts, you have an excellent opportunity to offer limited-time specials with a chilling twist. Bat-shaped cookies, cupcakes with ghost marshmallow tops and gummy-work brains would be in-demand treats for any sweet-loving young ghoul.

Mix up your witch’s brew. Create some buzz with some special Halloween boos. Any cocktail that calls blood, candy corn or green aliens to mind seems to do the trick. Take it up a notch by offering raspberry puree or cranberry vodka in a plastic syringe to top off customers’ cocktails. You can even develop a Halloween-themed drink menu; think: Bloody Mary, Dark ‘n’ Stormy, Blood and Sand and the Boneyard, for starters.

Hand out treats – not tricks. Start the entertainment on your doorstep with special treat bags for your youngest diners. Fill the bags with snacks, candy, souvenirs or raffle tickets for prizes later in the meal.

Showcase your spirit. Partner with a local haunted house to share your love of Halloween with your customers. Offer tickets to the haunted house or hayride for customers who spend above a certain threshold. You could also give a discount to customers who can show proof of admission to one of those events.

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