Halloween is a great in-between holiday that bars can leverage for a nice boost between the end of summer/Labor Day and the Thanksgiving/end of year festivities. We dare you to find an adult that doesn’t have fond memories of Halloween as a child. And though those adults may be eating less candy around Halloween these days, it’s still a very social occasion that entails eating, drinking and goofing around. Which makes is a perfect fit for bars and pubs. Here are 7 ideas publicans can use to increase spending around Halloween.
With Halloween falling on a Monday this year, you can really get in the spirit and host a series of themed weekend events. Friday could be scary movie marathon night with Halloween classics running on the TVs. Saturday you could run a Halloween trivia game contest and on Sunday a costume contest where the People’s Choice winner receives a prize.
A fun, Halloween themed menu for the weekend is an easy way to get in the spirit. Bloody Marys are an obvious choice on the drinks side. But with the popularity of sour beers, look for a brew soured with raspberries or strawberries for a red beer option. Bat wings AKA blackened chicken wings for appetizers, stuffed orange peppers “carved” to look like a jack o’ lantern for entrée and pumpkin cookies for dessert.
For the entire weekend, run a competition amongst your staff for best costume. But let your customers vote for the winner. And of course engage your workers on decorating the joint. Surely there are a few amongst them that will get a kick out of taking the lead here. Getting your team involved will serve to boost the positive vibes flowing during the event.
Load up on medium size pumpkins and paint supplies for your customers to have fun with. PaintNite delivers this service to bars and restaurants with success in the more traditional format of canvas painting. They cite the benefits of customers engaging with your brand on social media to share their completed paintings. Mirror this approach but with pumpkins. Take it a step further by creating a social media contest around it where people can vote online for their favorite painted squash.
If you have an email database, this is a perfect opportunity to get the word out in advance. Spell out the various activities you have planned for the weekend and offer your email recipients some kind of VIP experience for attending. Free pumpkin cookies are a good place to start.
The Pumpkin Beer Debate
There is heated debate amongst beer geeks regarding the pros and cons of pumpkin beer. It’s a Fall beer. But it doesn’t use fresh pumpkin. The nutmeg adds a nice touch. But releasing in August is too early. And so on. Make both sides happy by including a pumpkin option as a well as something that just sounds like Halloween without necessarily including pumpkin. For ideas, check out this list of Halloween beer ideas from CraftBeer.com.
Scary Photo Booth
It’s safe to say that people like taking pictures of themselves these days. So encourage this behavior with a themed photo booth. You can rent such a setup from companies like Shutterbooth. Stock the booth with Halloween props like masks, hats and the like. And be sure to get the printed option so folks can show off the fun to their fellow bar customers.
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