People celebrate Halloween on October 31st and surely, it is a good opportunity to have fun and boost your restaurant sales. Americans spent more than 10 billion USD on Halloween last year, surpassing even pre-Covid-19 numbers.
If you are interested in skyrocketing your sales this holiday season, read here. This guide shares helpful Halloween promotion ideas for restaurants and bar businesses.
How to create an effective Halloween marketing plan
1. Consider the target customers for your Halloween-themed restaurant
When creating restaurant promotions on this occasion, you need to define the customers you want to target. These may be adventurous eaters or regulars. Else, take this opportunity to develop group events to draw a new market section.
2. Check out your inventory
Advisably, you consider your current goods in stock and menu to build an appropriate Halloween promotion. The key points are to depend on what your chef does well and require leveraging familiar ingredients in creative ways.
3. Do a competitive analysis
As you build Halloween restaurant promotions, researching what other local restaurants are doing is recommended. Work on a campaign that minimizes competition or draws in another group of audience. On the one hand, you do not have to stop hosting a costume contest just because another restaurant and bar has one too. But on the other hand, think about scheduling it for another time if the target audience is the same.
Halloween ideas for restaurant and bar decoration
1. Decorate your windows to attract customers
Image: Halloween-themed windows/VisiGroup
Start by having a Halloween-themed window for your restaurant. It can ignite passersby’s curiosity and inspire action. For example, have a “trick or treat” welcome sign there.
2. Let customers spot your Halloween-themed bar and restaurant from afar
October 31st is best with pumpkins! You may want to put some carved pumpkins on your rooftop. This allows people to recognize your establishment from afar. It is also a great idea to turn off the lights, creating a mysterious atmosphere.
3. Adorn the main entrance
Else, let your place pull off the Halloween vibes by decorating its main entrance with pumpkins and dry leaf branches. Add some words like “Turn back now” as well.
4. Make Halloween pumpkin candle holders
Unleash your creativity when decorating the dinner table with candles. Use can use dry leaves for the table decoration as well. Particularly, it should be fun to create a Halloween pumpkin candle holder. Carving attractive pumpkin art, for example, an “I like beer” quote can be share-worthy content on social media. Should you not have time for the art carving, it is relatively fast to draw faces on them.
Kids like this option.
5. Use spider webs for scary decorations
Speaking of an easy and impressive way of getting into the Halloween spirit, make use of spider webs. Just stretch some grey or white net on your ceiling and bar.
6. Create an Instagrammable wall
These days, people are into selfies and Instagram. You can leverage that preference by building a Halloween Instagram wall where guests can take fun photos. Just adorn an empty wall with string lights, spooky stickers, and whatnot. To make it even more fun, give customers photo accessories such as the masks that are costume friendly.
A pro tip is to write your restaurant/ bar Instagram handle somewhere nearby. In this way, diners will also tag you when posting their photos.
7. Dress your employees in Halloween costumes to join in the Halloween spirit
As employees represent your business, have them dress up in costumes to draw customers to your Halloween restaurant. A few examples in this light include zombies, witches, and Tim Burton characters.
Or, just ask the staff to dress in black and put on a scary mask. Another option is having one of them disguise herself as a fortune teller and do tarot card readings.
Ideas for Halloween promotions and marketing
Ideas for your Halloween restaurant specials
Whether you are running a restaurant or bar, your menu items must be adjusted to this October 31st celebration. To save time, you can adjust the existing offer and use your creativity instead of searching for something different. Some great Halloween menu ideas include:
1. Halloween-themed food inspired by blood
Feel free to use drinks or food with red colors. For example, name your red tomato soup ‘vampire blood.’ And serving it in a laboratory tube will look extra interesting.
2. Drink specials inspired by fire
Speaking of the Halloween drink recipes, consider mixed drinks that have high-proof alcohol such as Flaming Cocaine.
3. Adjusting to Halloween drinks and food from ordinary ones
Even orange juice and other ordinary drinks could seem scary when you adorn them with details like cocoa powder, skeletons, and spiders. A pro tip is to find terrifying forms of sugar candy and gum in supermarkets. They are fantastic for easy and effective decoration for drinks and desserts.
4. Using scary names for your restaurant/ bar menu items
Be creative! Offer everyday items on your menu but their names, special pricing, and decoration should make them more appealing to customers. For instance, change the name ‘chicken wings’ to ‘bat wings’. To update these instantly with the push of a button, use One2’s contactless menu.
5. Offering food promotions
When it comes to attracting diners of all ages, Halloween restaurant promotions often work. For example:
- Offer those wearing costumes a 15% discount.
- Offer kids in costume a free drink or free meal.
- Provide family-friendly buffets that are Halloween-themed.
Halloween ideas: Promotional themes for your restaurants and bars
Just think of the theme as your micro restaurant concept. Here are some simple theme ideas for this holiday you can leverage to dress up your bar/ restaurant:
1. TV and movies
A few options in this regard include:
Turn your place into Stranger Things’ Upside Down.
Host a ‘Hocus Pocus’ party.
Thrown Start Wars and Harry Potter events.
2. Theatrical theme
This Halloween theme needs more budget and coordination. Having said that, should you be interested in hosting special restaurant events, this is highly likely a fun attraction for avid Halloween fans.
Some ideas you may like:
Have a local theater company perform in your eatery.
Sell package deals with a neighboring haunted house. Also, borrow a few of their actors, decorations, etc., to smoothly make your dining experience their extension.
Hiring a makeup artist to turn your workers into scary characters is also one of the great ideas for restaurants to consider.
3. Halloween party: Dance PARTY!
According to SafeHome research, the goal of 1 in 3 adults attending a Halloween party in 2021 is simply to cut loose. Turning your establishment into a club-like environment should work particularly to appeal to groups.
Some ideas in this regard include:
A dinner-and-dancing packing
Use big tables for groups to join
Partner with a nightclub on a Halloween-themed promotion that lets the Halloween night with meals at your restaurant first.
4. Murder mystery party
This party has a unique attraction – and takes more preparation and budget. Fortunately, you have the choice to host this October event supported by a murder mystery party company.
5. Family-friendly events
Volume is one perk of a family-friendly theme. These events tend to feature parents getting in and out fast, implying more turned tables.
Some ideas for this Halloween-themed event:
Help the parents with trick or treating.
Menus and giveaways intended for kids (e.g., giving away candies, partnering with a local bakery).
6. Harvest (Seasonal)
If a full-on promotion for the October 31st holiday is not a good fit for your business, think about subtly incorporating the season. An autumn theme can be pleasing and elegant.
Some ideas in this regard include:
Add inviting seasonal scents, for instance, spices and apples.
Include hearty soups and other comfort foods in your Halloween treat.
Ideas for Halloween contests
Contests do not fail to bring out the best in people on this holiday. The winners can get a gift card for your bar/ restaurant to ensure they come back and become loyal customers.
1. Halloween costume contest
There are a lot of ways to throw a costume contest. Opt for one that fits your theme.
- Best adult and best kid costume
- Best costume as a pre-decided character (e.g., best Tinker Bell)
- Best couple costume
- Best group costume
- Best overall costume
Pro tip: You can organize costume contests online and have the gifts either sent through delivery or redeemed in November.
2. Shooting pumpkin contest or pumpkin painting/ carving
To keep the attention of kids on a high level, you may hold simple games like using paper balls to shoot pumpkins. Else, host a pumpkin carving event, which works well with families and younger crowds. Our advice is to organize this event one or two weeks ahead of October 31 to incorporate the fun, creepy entries as your bar/ restaurant’s decoration. Speaking of making the contest profitable for the business, charge participants an appropriate amount of money to cover the prize and supply costs.
3. Hanging donuts or apples
Apple bobby used to be a favorite autumn tradition. But today, people prefer a more hygienic alternative which is hanging donuts or apples from strings. This fun game is a genuinely Instagrammable novelty.
4. Scavenger hunt
Should your restaurant/ bar be handing out candy, partnering with another local business on a scavenger hunt is a good idea. Send trick-or-treat persons to particular locations in your area to retrieve food, candy, etc.; the winner will be the one who presents them first. It is generally one of the best restaurant promotions that are community-centric.
5. Social media contest
This is an affordable way for a restaurant owner to promote the business this holiday and amass a following on social media for the restaurant. Here, you offer prizes for the most enticing decorations or most fantastic photos of a pet costume.
The easiest option for Halloween beverages is to rename what you already have. Yet, for those desiring to offer new and different things this holiday, here are some suggestions:
- Autumn classics (e.g., Milky Way Martini and Caramel Apple Cocktail)
- Costume drinks (e.g., Black Magic Cocktail and Bloody Orange)
- Party shots (e.g., Black Rose Shooter and Pumpkin Pie shot)
Halloween delivery promotions
Do not forget to include those at home in your Halloween restaurant promotions. Here are a few suggestions:
- Include a restaurant/ bar gift card in any takeaway bag.
- Stick spooky stickers on the takeaway bag to give out Halloween vibes.
- Use One2’s ordering system to streamline the ordering and fulfillment process.
Promoting your restaurant/ bar’s Halloween events
After coming up with your bar or restaurant promotions, it is time to let people know. A few great ideas include:
- Add a banner ad to your ordinary reservation widget to put the word out about the event in the days leading up to October 31st.
- Send personalized emails.
- Add ‘Book Now’ buttons to the social media promotions, making it easier for customers to find and buy tickets.
- Offer perks for social media shares. For instance, whoever shares your event can skip the line on October 31st night.
- Share the news on your restaurant/ bar website.
- Help people find you through search engine optimization enabled by the One2 system.
1. Covid-19 guidelines and precautions?
- Adapt the most accessible offline restaurant promotion ideas to the online world.
- Build hand sanitizer stations.
- Ask everybody to wear masks inside.
- Disinfect surfaces regularly.
2. Halloween party ideas for kids?
- Adorn the place with black and orange balloons.
- Have your staff dress up in costumes of scary characters.
- Get an employee to play an animator role during the party.
- Give candy for free.
- Give unusual names to regular meals, for instance, ‘spider’s beloved cake’.
- Hold a small school of cooking holiday dishes for kids and their parents.
- Throw a contest to pick the best masks.
3. How to hold a Halloween party in your bar?
- Host the prophetess at your bar entrance.
- Host well-known musicians.
- Let dancing charming witch move men.
- Offer coupons or discounts
- Throw a cocktail party.
- Partner with popular brands (e.g., costume and drink ones) to support promotional activities during October 31st night.
4. How to handle dry ice properly for a safe, fun, and happy Halloween restaurant experience?
- Have enough adequate ventilation where you serve and store the dry ice.
- Do not touch it with bare skin.
- Pre-cut the dry ice into extra small cubes of around ¾ inches per side if you offer cocktails that have dry ice.
- Add small chunks of dry ice in a punch bow or other big containers of liquid.