Halloween is a perfect time for businesses to show off their creative side and engage customers in an unusual way. Every year, brands come up with innovative holiday campaigns that leave a lasting impression and get people laughing. In this blog, we’ll delve into some spine-tingling Halloween marketing campaign ideas for 2023 – complete with real-life examples.

Haunted Content Calendar

halloween marketing campaign from burger king
Burger King holiday ad

Idea: Create a Halloween-themed content calendar filled with eerie blog posts, social media updates, and emails to captivate your audience leading up to October 31. A perfect example of this was Grubhub’s 31 Days of Halloween campaign. The food delivery service successfully embraced the holiday and featured spooky-themed restaurant discounts and promotions throughout October.

If you’re thinking, “nothing about my business could be made.. spooky,” you probably just haven’t thought of the right angle yet. For example, Penji’s Halloween campaign to “revive dead brands” allowed us to talk branding and design while showcasing our expertise.

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Scary Social Media Challenges

Idea: Develop a Halloween-inspired social media challenge or hashtag to encourage user participation and engagement. M&M’s launched its #MMsHalloween TikTok challenge, inviting users to transform plain M&M’s into scary characters. The user-generated content added a fun and interactive dimension to their campaign. And undoubtedly, it got people buying M&M’s so they could join in.

If you opt for this type of campaign, remember that “scary” is relative. You don’t have to go traditional Halloween (eg. monsters, pumpkins, skeletons). Think of what, in day-to-day life, would be “scary” for your target audience. This is a great opportunity to use humor and connect with your audience.

Virtual Costume Contest

Idea: Another common Halloween strategy is costume contests. These need not be in person. You can host a virtual costume contest with equal success, encouraging them to dress up and share their photos on social media with your branded hashtag. Airbnb pulled this off nicely with their “Spookiest Stays” costume contest in which participants dressed up for iconic Airbnb listings. They featured ghost towns and supposed haunted houses guests could book during October.

Ghoulish Giveaways

Idea: Run a Halloween giveaway or sweepstakes where participants can enter for a chance to win themed prizes. Universal Pictures hosted a “Halloween Horror Nights” giveaway in which participants could win tickets to the popular haunted attraction.

Giveaways are an easy way to generate excitement and participation, especially from horror enthusiasts at this time of year. While a general contest might work, it’s better to be specific and tie the giveaway to your brand & your target customer’s needs.

Creepy Product Transformations

halloween product idea
Insomnia Cookies product transformation

Idea: Give your products a Halloween makeover, creating limited-edition spooky versions. Oreo famously executes this idea every year with its limited-edition Halloween Oreos. The cookies are adorned with Halloween colors and designs, which boost seasonal sales and creates buzz among consumers.

This is a great traditional to start for product-based businesses. What do you sell that can be transformed temporarily? Even if just your packaging design, customers will notice the extra step and may be more likely to share your products on social media.

Ghostly Video Campaigns

Idea: Create Halloween-themed video ad content that tells a spooky story, showcases your products in a haunting setting, or offers Halloween-related tips and tricks. Being a Halloween staple, it would be crazy for the candy brand Reese’s to not engage in some holiday marketing. One of their campaigns involved a commercial featuring a haunted house filled with Reese’s-themed decorations.

While you may not sell candy, you can probably find a useful angle to use video. Video content is popular year-round, and Halloween gives your team a chance to get playful and creative. It may be the first time your audience sees this side of your brand, and thus a great way to become more memorable to them.

Eerie Email Marketing

halloween email design by land's end
email campaign by Land’s End apparel

Idea: Send Halloween-themed emails to your subscribers with exclusive offers, scary stories, or personalized costume suggestions. This is a great option for apparel brands. Online retailer ASOS sends out Halloween emails featuring costume ideas and a curated collection of clothing and accessories suitable for Halloween festivities.

Make the Most of Your Halloween Marketing Campaign

This Halloween season, do something different. Get in the spirit and engage with your audience in unique and memorable ways. These Halloween marketing campaign ideas for 2023, inspired by real brand examples, demonstrate the potential for creativity and engagement during this somewhat odd time of year in the marketing world.

Whether you’re transforming your products, hosting a contest, or conjuring up captivating content, let your brand’s imagination run wild and create a Halloween campaign that leaves a lasting impression on your audience.

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