Restaurant Toolkit

7 Halloween Promotion Ideas for Restaurants and Bars in 2022 (with free templates)

Scare up some customer engagement with our top Halloween promotion ideas for restaurants and bars.

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Halloween Promotion Ideas for Restaurants and Bars in 2022

The leaves are falling, spooky season has arrived, and Halloween is right around the corner! Let’s look at the most bewitching ways to bring the night of frightful fun to your customers.

Halloween is a great holiday for driving foot traffic and orders to your restaurant or bar. Just last year, Halloween had some of the highest daily food delivery sales for DoorDash in the US. When done right, taking advantage of the festivities can land you more online orders and in-person foot traffic, and can strengthen awareness of your business in its community.

If you’re a restaurant or bar owner feeling haunted by a lack of Halloween prep, don’t fret! In this article, we share seven last-minute Halloween promotion ideas for restaurants and bars looking to drive up sales and attention throughout October.

1. Host a Chipotle-inspired Costume Promotion

Chipotle’s annual “Boorito” promotion is an excellent example of an engaging Halloween event. The idea is simple: customers who show up in costume get a discounted entree. In effect, the fast-casual restaurant drives brand awareness, foot traffic, and buzz around its special deal and helps meet the craving of its customer base for fun holiday experiences.

Of course, offering such a large-scale discount isn’t possible for every restaurant and bar, but there are many ways to adapt the idea to your own business’s needs. You may provide discounted drink specials to customers who show up in costume, for example. If your restaurant is known for holding events, you could also consider hosting a costume competition where the customer with the best costume wins free drinks for the rest of the night.

For a more casual restaurant or cafe, try holding a promotional giveaway that  any customer wearing a costume can enter. A family venue might host a kid's costume fashion show, or tweak their menu to reflect the spooky season. The possibilities are limitless!

In short, think of what you can offer to customers who show up in Halloween costumes, or what creative treats your restaurant or bar can provide to help patrons celebrate the holiday. After all – it isn’t Halloween without a costume.

2. Pumpkin-ize Your Menu

When it comes to visiting restaurants in October, many of your customers want to spice up their lives with pumpkin… everything! Capitalize on the one time of the year when pumpkin flavors, decorations, and competitions get the respect they deserve with a variety of pumpkin-themed items.

First, take a look at your menu. Are there any existing items that you can pumpkify? For cafes or restaurants, consider offering a pumpkin latte, pumpkin bread, or pumpkin sweets. For bars, put a pumpkin-centric twist on cocktails, like a refreshing Pumpkin Spice Old-Fashioned, a flavourful Pumpkin Spice Mule, or a zesty Pumpkin Spice Martini. Next, lean into the festivities even more with decor. Pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes, and you can find incredible pumpkin decorations to fit your budget on Amazon.

Also, if you own a restaurant, bar, or cafe with outdoor space, consider hosting a BYOP (Bring Your Own Pumpkin) carving competition! Hire a local artist to give a quick demonstration or tutorial before the contest begins, and reward the winner with a free drink or appetizer.

Fun events like these are a great (and free) way for your business to attract customers, drive up orders, and gain attention on social media!

3. Decorate

Take advantage of the spooky season by decorating your storefront with spiderwebs, ghosts, and orange and black colors. Oh, and don’t forget vampires… witches… skeletons… and all the other fun Halloween monsters that your customers love.

Even if you don’t have the time or resources to invest in frightful decor, a little effort goes a long way during a celebration. The great thing about Halloween is that, whatever your target audience, Halloween-themed decorations appeal to kids, teens, and adults alike. The best part? Most decorations can be purchased once and used repeatedly each year!

Leaning into October’s festivities will entice trick-or-treaters to visit your store for Halloween sweets and candy. Going the extra mile by having a costumed staff member hand out these treats will promote your passion – and show parents how valuable you are to your community.

4. Host a Haunted Happy Hour… or a Happy Hour Cure for the Haunted

Many of your customers are gearing up to spend Halloween indoors watching a classic scary movie. Others are pulling together last-minute Halloween costumes for a catered party, full of hungry ghouls and gremlins. Now that pandemic restrictions have waned, your customers are going to be ready for an evening of terrifying proportions – and they’ll need some toothsome treats to go along with it!

Halloween falls on a Monday this year, which means that themed parties are going to last all weekend long. To take advantage of your patrons’ monstrous appetites, host a haunted happy hour with discounted deals over the Halloweekend. If you really want to get in the holiday spirit, spooky-themed drinks are on the move, ready to greet your customers at their doorsteps. Get inspired with these seasonal sensations, and do your part to keep the party going.

If your health-centric restaurant wants to stand out on a night of monstrous munchies, you can flip this whole idea on its head and offer a tasty Halloween cure for the spooked, sober, or hungover. Whether you’re serving up a hearty breakfast, juice shots, or hair of the werewolf, healthy items make for excellent marketing material on social media, and capture the attention of customers that aren’t quite so devilish.

5. Have a Halloween Party

Something about Halloween brings out the playful side of adults, children, and everyone in-between. When planning an event around the holiday, consider your target audience, and create something that you know they’ll get excited for.

Your restaurant can throw an endless variety of themed parties to celebrate the evening: costume contests, murder mysteries, trivia nights, and themed dances are beloved by all, and serve as exciting ways of drawing in new customers. Find an event that suits your business’s space, inventory, and resources, and add plenty of unique personal touches to make the night your own.

Don’t forget about entertainment, either – Halloween is rich with spooky music and movies for you to play, and is an excellent opportunity to appeal to your customer base’s nostalgia. Ask patrons what they want to see and hear at your restaurant on Halloween night, and they’ll line up at your door to get the best seats!

6. Deliver Tricks, Treats, and Customer Satisfaction!

As we discussed, Halloween was one of the holidays that drove the highest delivery sales on Doordash last year. Taking advantage of the evening’s festivities is a great way to strengthen your business’s sales in October, and keeps your brand fresh in customer’s minds.

Every restaurant’s food delivery promotions are different, and it’s important to highlight your business's unique value by understanding your target audience’s tastes and preferences. Consider who you want to appeal to: Busy parents looking to give their kids a healthy pre-trick-or-treat dinner? Late-night partygoers craving your cuisine? Young adults hungover from the evening’s festivities?

Focus on satisfying the demands of your selected target audience, and you’ll be able to promote your brand in an interesting, engaging way. In short, be mindful of your customer, and tailor your promotions to them directly over social media, flyers, and your physical restaurant.

7. Give Your Promotions a Sugar Rush with Boost by Otter

In the heat of the moment on Halloween night, tearing your attention away from the party to make sure your delivery promotions are working properly can be a real nightmare. Don’t let an issue with your online delivery apps scare your customers away – empower your digital promotions with Boost, Otter’s automated marketing solution.

Boost is Otter’s digital promotion optimizer, and a major treat for busy restaurateurs everywhere. With Boost, you can utilize the power of automatic marketing to run scary-awesome promotions seamlessly, and gain valuable insight on the effectiveness of your online brand strategy.

Growing your business is easy with Boost – the feature’s monstrously-powerful marketing solutions instantly create, publish, and sustain promotional campaigns, freeing up time and resources for your staff to do what matters.

Restaurants that use Boost leap up the search rankings of digital delivery platforms, helping passionate business owners like you devour the competition. Pounce on Boost by Otter today, and hit the sweet spot for digital promotions!

On Halloween night, there’s nothing more monstrous than the appetites of your customer base. By highlighting the individual value of your business, your brand, and your menu, you’ll be able to stand out from your competition, and capture the attention of your target audience on one of the most craving-fuelled nights of the year.

Appeal to your patrons’ desire for fun, spooky experiences, and you might just find yourself with more than a few hungry creatures knocking at your door!

If you're looking for an easy way to start running promotions on third-party delivery apps, sign up for Boost, Otter's specialized marketing solution, today! For even more seasonal flair, fill out the form below and grab Otter’s original Halloween templates – perfect for party invitations!

Click here to download free halloween templates

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