Halloween marketing ideas for restaurants and pubs

As well as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving Day dinner restaurants, people looking for such a place for All Saints Day! So, Halloween is a great way to increase sales in restaurants and pubs. Because of high demand for costumes, candy, decorations, and party supplies, many retailers start selling Halloween merchandise at the end of summer. And it isn’t surprising, every year customers spend almost a lot of money on Halloween. 

According to the LendEDU study:

  • The average American will spend $185.50 on Halloween in 2018. This figure is up from our figure last year: $169.81

  • Within that total expenditure, $76.05 (41%) will go towards candy, $66.78 (36%) will go towards costumes, and $42.67 (23%) will go towards decorations

Restaurants achieve great marketing benefits by hosting Halloween parties, costume contests, or special menus. Everybody wants to enjoy Halloween – and who said restaurant owners can’t get in on the fun and add profit to their business at the same time? 

In fact, this holiday provides an opportunity to launch some out-of-the-ordinary promotion campaigns. Usually, POS systems give restaurant owners an opportunity to create and customize discount and bonus programs for customers, that will perfectly fit Halloween theme. Try Poster 15-days free trial and you will see the benefits of loyalty programs in practice.

Here are some Halloween marketing ideas for your restaurant that will help you entertain parties, decorate your place, and figure out what else you can do to make guests remember you.

Halloween decoration

People are obsessed with Halloween, in a good way, of course. That’s why it’s really important to give your restaurant guests a true All Saints Day aura. It doesn’t matter whether you own a fast-casual eatery, old-school pub, classy full-service or family-friendly restaurant. You can be equally creative with holiday decorations and by choosing one of these interesting Halloween ideas. Focus on deep dark colors; add streamers, cobwebs, dry leaves, candles, and tableside decorations: all these are perfect for your interior design. Turn off the lights and create a mysterious atmosphere, customers will love it! Create some magic with a few tricks, like fake fog billowing across the floor or talking skeletons hanging on the restroom door. Not forgetting, either, every Halloween party must-have—the pumpkin. You don’t have to use the real thing, you can leave that for cooking a special holiday menu. Stores and websites selling themed decoration items are full of accessories, lamps, candles, statuettes and other stuff made in the shape of a pumpkin. Just try to make sure that the spirit of the holiday surrounds your guests: go wild and experiment with decorations.

You could invite a professional decorator to help you decorate your restaurant or pub for the holiday. This might be a particular theme, for example, recognizable items from a popular movie or horror story, like good old Dracula, Hocus Pocus, Frankenstein or The Game of Thrones, etc. Choose a Halloween playlist to create a vivid atmosphere. Again, it might be soundtracks from popular horror movies, but the playlist should not be too scary for restaurant guests.

Halloween marketing ideas for restaurants and pubs

Halloween menu

Many restaurants offer special menus for Halloween. That's exactly where your chefs can go crazy, giving rein to their imaginations! Developing a seasonal menu with Halloween-themed food involves every menu category from the pastry to the drinks. Traditionally, the menu includes a lot of pumpkin, spices, and, literally, anything that could be taken for blood, any red-colored food or drink. For example, that tomato soup on your menu: Why not serve it in laboratory tubes or in a goblet with fake eyeballs and call it “Vampire Soup” or “Bloody Eyes”. Use all your imagination, check out ideas on the Internet too, and create Halloweeny names for every dish—you know it makes sense!  

Add Halloween cocktails to the menu, like the classic Bloody Mary, Zombie Cocktail, Bloody Black Currant Punch. Don’t forget about special treats for the youngest guests—ghost-shaped cookies in white chocolate, cupcakes with “scary” toppings, pumpkin pies and more. And of course, to complete the whole restaurant concept, the menu itself should have an All Saints Day inspired design!

Halloween costume and makeup for staff

Creating a memorable Halloween atmosphere also depends on your employees and their festive appearance. Pick up masks and costumes for your staff to impress your customers. You can be even more serious and choose some popular themed costumes for your employees, such as a mummy, a vampire, Frankenstein, a witch, a superhero, etc. If you have a specific theme for the restaurant, your team must correspond to it. The concept and cuisine of your restaurant can also inspire the choice of costumes. For example, if you are a Mexican restaurant, it would be a great idea to come up with costumes and makeup in the style of the Day of the Dead.

On the other hand, your staff can wear more formal costumes and simply add little bits and pieces. For example, waiters can wear a black shirt with an orange vest or handkerchief and a hat. That way, you're not getting too far into this while still keeping in with the mood you’re creating. It all depends on how far you want to go with the Halloween atmosphere. You can impress customers with both options.

Halloween Party

Do you know what's the best part about Halloween for your customers? Right, getting free candy is important too, but we are talking about a party. Ok, this year Halloween falls on a Tuesday, but this shouldn’t prevent you holding a themed party. Move the main Halloween themed restaurant party to the weekend, and on October 31 you can arrange a party for the kids. Here you can choose a theme common to All Saints Day or something specific like you did with the restaurant decorations and staff outfits. For example, we are sure that the recently released screen version of Stephen King's "It", will give a second wind to a creepy clown costume. So be ready to meet quite a few Pennywise during the night.

You can start the entertainment on the doorstep. Let the guests meet a host and waiters dressed as witches or in other Halloween costumes, and get them to pull out a lottery ticket. Tickets can be put into a bag filled with rubber spiders and worms. And during the party, you need to give out the prizes from this lottery: souvenirs with Halloween symbols, amulets against evil spirits, garlic clusters, aspen stakes, etc. At the costume party, it is necessary to hold a contest and reward the best outfits. Think of several nominations ("The most unusual costume", "Miss Halloween", "Mr. Secret", etc.) and give the winners memorable gifts. Besides Halloween parties, you can also offer themed banquets and Birthday parties for customers. It will gain your restaurant, above all, more profit during the holidays.

Halloween marketing ideas for restaurants and pubs

Offer Halloween promotions

And now it's time to talk about free candy. You can offer your customers deals and freebies. Every restaurant you walk into has something interesting to offer their customers. To begin with, place two “Trick or Treat” baskets beside the entrance. First off, free biscuits and sweets to please your little customers and second, discount coupons with 2%-10% deals for the next order. Arrange a costume contest for your guests and, as a prize, offer a discount, free meal or drink from a special menu. The more extraordinary your competition, the more people will want to visit your restaurant and take part in it. Get a darts competition going or a drinking  contest, offer customers the chance to create their own cocktail and pick the winner or use other Halloween ideas for pubs to entertain your guests. Give anyone coming into your place a free coffee or treat if they’re wearing orange. Offer a special Halloween deal and give guests who are following you on social media a complimentary dessert. With the right all-in-one restaurants POS software and management console, you will be aware of the effectiveness of all promotional offers and holiday discounts. There are plenty of special promotion variations! And you don’t have to do them all. Think about what your customer would love, and create an offer around that!

Halloween marketing ideas for restaurants and pubs

Share on Social Media

The next question is how people will figure out your restaurant party and Halloween promotion. One of the most powerful forms of restaurant marketing is social media. Make sure you put your plans and restaurant Halloween deals on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. Word of mouth always does its job and helps other people in surrounding areas become aware of your restaurant offers. Look into local events and check what your competitors are up to and do it better. Give out a promo code like “Pumpkin”, “Trick or treat,” etc. for free drinks/hotdogs/etc. on social media to invite more customers to your place. You can also create your own hashtag, provide some likes and shares, post pictures of your new seasonal dishes and drinks, party announcements and every other kind of content to communicate with people and make them want to come and visit your place.

Use some of our advice to get more profit, stand out from the competitors and just spend a great time with your satisfied customers. What will your restaurant do for marketing this Halloween?

Kate Palanchuk
Content Marketer at Poster POS. Kate digs deep into the layers of new technologies and trends in the restaurant business to provide the best content for the blog readers.

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