The spooky season is here! We’re sharing tricks and treats to level up your killer Halloween promos and LTOs for October.
“Halloweenize” Your Menu
Halloween is beloved by children and adults alike, so cast a little black and orange magic on daily menu items with a simple but powerful rename, such as Nightmare Nachos, Haunted Hot Chocolate, Spooky Spaghetti, or Ice Scream Waffle Cones. Include pumpkin-flavored entrées or desserts, too.
Create a landing page on your website with the “new” menu that is accessible to guests by QR code. Consider augmenting your brand colors this month with black, orange, and purple highlights.
Kids get the candy; adults get cocktails. Consider themed Happy Hours throughout the month, such as “Haunted Hour” or “Cocktails from the Crypt.” Trendy Halloween cocktails this year include Bloody Mary Syringes, Vampire’s Blood (in lab tubes), Hocus Pocus Jell-O Shots, Poison Apple cocktails, and Witches’ Brew Lemonades. Get creative with garnishes, such as orange peels with cherries to make eyeballs or gummy worms around the glass rim. Red, orange, and green drinks add to the overall aesthetic, but turn it up a notch with charcoal for black drinks or smoked cocktails mixed in a cauldron.
Celebrations are no longer just on October 31 or over the few days prior; Halloween celebrations are a month-long extravaganza. Halloween spending is expected to reach more than $10 billion, which spells a great opportunity for your restaurant this season.
- Halloween Costume Contest – Offer discounts for themed costumes (cat costumes, superhero costumes, favorite Disney characters, etc.). Select winners in 3-5 categories, such as The Pump-King and the Hallow-Queen, Romeo and Ghouliet, or Most-Bootiful, with the winners receiving gift cards or a discount on that evening’s meal (up to a set dollar value).
- Host a Spooky Movie Night – Create mood lighting and a prix fixe menu of spooky appetizers, such as Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Peppers or Bat Wings. Give a nod to foods within a movie or TV show like Spider Cupcakes while watching Arachnophobia, or S’mores Waffle Sliders for Stranger Things episodes.
- Halloween Trivia Night – Test your guests’ knowledge with a Halloween Trivia Night. Promote it on social media, along with that night’s special. Trivia nights can produce upwards of 300% increases in sales, so advertise significantly.
Level up your social media game with bewitching content to boost engagement, website traffic, and restaurant visitors. Use reels and live feeds on a weekly basis throughout October to give followers a behind-the-scenes look at how your restaurant is celebrating and what devilicious concoctions guests can expect on that evening’s menu.
Promote contests with followers that interact with your posts, creating a unique hashtag that they can use to share on their profiles. Select a handful of followers using the hashtag to receive dining gift cards. Another option is to create a “Guess How Many” jar with candy corn or bite-sized wrapped candies so followers can guess the correct amount. In both cases, select a winner and a few random followers that posted a guess to receive coupons, discounts, or other promotions. Or give away weekly Halloween prizes, increasing the value of the prize every few days as Halloween nears.
Keep family specials in mind, too. Promote a “No “Scream” Time” event for parents to enjoy a Halloween-themed meal with their kids—sans the technology devices.
Partner with Local Businesses
Community is an integral part of Halloween celebrations. Many towns will have a Halloween festival or fair. Participate in those celebrations by renting a booth, offering free samples, and a chance for participants to win coupons or gift cards, all while connecting with current and new potential restaurant guests.
Collaborate with other businesses on your street to throw a block party for a safe, contained trick-or-treat space. Play games in the center of the venue, with the winners receiving discounts to one (or more) of the businesses on that street. Hold a Halloween cooking contest or create a Howling Good Scavenger Hunt with prizes to be found in the immediate area.
Putting in the effort to celebrate Halloween with these tips and tricks is the perfect way to conjure up scary-good business this season.