Halloween marketing 101: How to cast a spell on your target audience

Partner Content


Get ready to embrace the spine-tingling spirit of Halloween! As the air turns crisp and leaves transform into vibrant hues, marketers have a golden opportunity to captivate audiences with bewitching Halloween marketing campaigns. 

With record-breaking Halloween spending projected this year, the National Retail Federation anticipates Halloween global spending will reach $10.6 billion in 2022, exceeding last year’s record of $10.1 billion, it's essential to dive into the insights and trends that will set your campaigns apart for success. Join us on a chilling journey as we explore the when, what, and where of Halloween shopping, unveiling valuable data to ignite your marketing strategies. Plus, we will also share lots of great examples of Halloween marketing campaigns from real brands. All-in-all, after reading this article, you’ll know all the important facts about Halloween marketing and be inspired to create your own successful marketing campaign.

All-in-all, after reading this article, you’ll know all the important facts about Halloween marketing and be inspired to create your own successful marketing campaign.

Gamification Strategy Handbook

Halloween marketing facts marketers should know!

Below, we will focus on a few Halloween marketing facts that can help you build the perfect campaign! 

When do people start shopping for Halloween?
Halloween enthusiasts eagerly await the arrival of this ghoulish holiday, and they waste no time in unleashing their creativity. According to the NRF's survey, a staggering 63% of consumers reported starting their Halloween shopping as early as September. This early jumpstart ensures that marketers have a prolonged window to engage with their target audience. To maximize your campaign's impact, consider launching your Halloween-themed promotions and initiatives well in advance, capturing the attention of eager shoppers seeking the perfect blend of fright and delight.

Pro Tip: Launch pre-Halloween campaigns in late September/early October to boost sales and captivating Halloween campaigns closer to the holiday to maximize engagement.

What do people shop for? 
Halloween is not just about the scaries; it's a celebration that ignites a craving for treats, transformation, and spirited fun. The NRF's research reveals fascinating insights into the items consumers seek during this enchanting season. Costume spending alone is expected to reach a record $3.6 billion, with even one in five of respondents planning to purchase costumes for their beloved pets (#Funfacts). Beyond costumes, consumers express their Halloween spirit through various avenues:

Candy holds a special place in the hearts of trick-or-treaters, with 43% of respondents opting for assorted candy variety bags and 32% selecting individual brand bags. Marketers can capitalize on this sweet tooth obsession by showcasing tempting candy offerings, promoting special deals, and crafting interactive halloween social media posts that engage with consumers' nostalgic love for Halloween treats.
Home decor is also emphasized and highlighted by the 51% of consumers who plan to decorate their homes or yards. Encourage creativity and offer inspiration for transforming spaces into haunted realms. Collaborate with influencers or run contests that encourage customers to share their spine-chilling home decorations, amplifying your brand's reach and fostering a sense of community.
Pumpkin carving - Capitalize on the 44% of consumers who plan to carve pumpkins by sharing carving tips, stencils, and innovative ideas on your website and social media platforms. Engage your audience by hosting virtual pumpkin carving contests or featuring user-generated content that showcases their unique creations.

Pro Tip: Halloween marketing is not limited to costume or candy providers.Think outside the coffin and get creative by inspiring and educating your audience with Halloween-themed DIY ideas like recipes, homemade costumes, and engaging them with interactive Halloween experiences.
Where do people shop for Halloween? 
Navigating the landscape of Halloween shopping destinations is crucial for marketers aiming to align their campaigns with consumer behavior. The NRF survey reveals that 82% of consumers plan to shop in physical stores, highlighting the continued significance of brick-and-mortar establishments. However, the online realm also plays a vital role, with 31% of shoppers preferring the convenience and vast product selection offered by e-commerce platforms.

To effectively reach your target audience, consider the following key insights:
Discount stores remain a popular choice for Halloween shoppers, with 40% of consumers planning to do their Halloween shopping there. 
Again, 31% of consumers are planning to shop online. 
Special Halloween or costume stores capture the attention of 36% of shoppers. 
Respectively 28 and 25% of consumers planned to do their Halloween shopping at grocery stores and department stores. 

Pro Tip: In a world where Halloween shopping knows no bounds, don't settle for just one avenue. Embrace the magic of both online and in-store campaigns, and for an extra dose of enchantment, weave them together into an irresistible omnichannel marketing campaign that leaves your audience spellbound. 

7 Halloween marketing campaign ideas with examples from real brands 
Embrace the power of these captivating Halloween-themed marketing games to elevate your  campaigns, delight your audience, and create memorable experiences that leave a lasting impact.

Halloween marketing idea 1: Memory game 
Engage your audience with a thrilling Halloween memory game. In a Memory game, participants must memorize and match spooky symbols or Halloween icons hidden behind cards. This playable experience boosts brand awareness and creates excitement. Add leaderboards and incentives for top scorers to enhance competition and encourage social sharing.

Djurs Sommerland, a Danish amusement park, used a this Memory game as one of their Halloween marketing campaign in 2020. 

Halloween marketing idea 2: Scratchcard
Create suspense and excitement with a Halloween-themed scratchcard game. In a scratchcard game, participants scratch virtual fields, hoping to reveal winning images or spooky surprises. Combine it with an Advent Calendar format so participants can come back daily to scratch new cards and unlock rewards and prizes throughout the entire October month. 

Gyldendal, an online recommendation tool for books, used this fun scratchcard playable campaign in 2022 to engage their audience

Halloween marketing idea 3: Guess the image 
Engage your customers with a captivating Guess the Image game. In a Guess the image game, participants are shown a very tiny image that slowly gets bigger. The goal is to guess the content of the image as fast as possible. Use Halloween-themed images, or branded images to increase brand awareness and deliver specific messages. Encourage participants to decipher the hidden images, creating a fun and playable experience that strengthens brand connection and leaves a lasting impression.

Unicef, an agency of the United Nations responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide, used a Halloween-theme Guess the image experience to generate awareness around world related problems. With each image, they would ask “Is it for Halloween or is it real?”

Halloween marketing idea 4: Drop game
Take your audience on a nostalgic journey with a Halloween-themed drop game. In a Drop game, objects fall from the top of the screen, and players must catch or avoid them using a container. This addictive and updated arcade-style game adds an element of suspense and challenges participants' reflexes, keeping them engaged and entertained. It is perfect for Halloween campaigns! 

Djurs Sommerland, used a drop game for one of their Halloween marketing campaigns, in 2021, to generate awareness around 3 new Halloween Fanta drinks: the Spooky Strawberry, the Crazy Orange, and the Freaky Grape. 

Halloween marketing idea 5: Quiz
Test your customers' Halloween knowledge and/or product familiarity with an engaging Halloween quiz. Craft fun and challenging questions that revolve around specific subjects, including your products and core company values, or around a Halloween-theme. Even better, you can do a mix of both! A quiz is a great way to allow participants to showcase their expertise while deepening their engagement with your brand.

C More, a broadcasting television company, created a quiz focused on horror movies and shows for Halloween. They also cleverly utilized this opportunity to showcase the scary movies and shows available on their platform, providing an engaging Halloween experience for their audience while promoting their content.

Halloween marketing idea 6: Shell game 
Challenge your audience's perception and intuition with a Halloween-themed shell game. Hide an item under one of three identical cups (or witch hats), shuffling them to confuse participants. Players must then guess which cup (or hat) conceals the item. This interactive marketing game adds an element of mystery and intrigue, keeping participants engaged and entertained as they try to outsmart the game. You can either use a spooky Halloween item to hide or a brand related one, such as your logo! 

Shell game

Hoogvliet, a Dutch supermarket used this Shell game as a part of their Halloween marketing campaign in 2022. 

Halloween marketing idea 7: Snake game 
Bring back the 90s nostalgia with a Halloween twist using a Snake game! A snake game allow players to control a creepy crawler as it navigates through a haunted maze, collecting eerie treats. This captivating game immerses participants in the Halloween spirit while challenging their skills and keeping them hooked for more.

Djurs Sommerland

Djurs Sommerland used a snake game as one of their marketing campaigns in 2020 to engage their audience.

Pro Tip: Use Playable’s gamification platform to create interactive popup that leads to your playable campaigns! 

How to promote your Halloween marketing campaigns 

By utilizing social media, email marketing, and strategically placed popups on your website, you can effectively promote your Halloween marketing campaigns and captivate your audience with enticing offers and engaging content, ensuring a spellbinding Halloween season for your brand.
Grab visitors' attention and boost engagement by incorporating Halloween-themed popups on your website. Use eye-catching designs and compelling copy to entice visitors to take specific actions, such as signing up for a newsletter, exploring a Halloween collection, trying a Halloween game, or claiming a limited-time Halloween offer. Ensure the popups are non-intrusive, easy to dismiss, and optimized for mobile devices. 

Krüger, an internationally-oriented environmental company specializing in sustainable water treatment, used a Popup to recreate the famous "Trick or Treat" game. By clicking on "trick," you'd end up watching a spooky YouTube video, and by clicking on "treat," you could enter a draw to win World Cup mugs from Krüger. Additionally, there was a button offering a special Halloween discount.

Tap into the power of email marketing to communicate directly with your audience. Create engaging Halloween email campaigns that feature exclusive offers, sneak peeks of upcoming products, or playable experiences like Halloween quizzes or drop games. Personalize your Halloween email campaigns to make recipients feel valued and appreciated. Use Halloween-themed attention-grabbing subject lines that pique curiosity and entice recipients to open the email. Ensure your emails are mobile-friendly and optimized for various email clients.

Pro Tip: Email your Halloween marketing games to your existing database audience. The facts don’t lie, our customers keep saying it, using games in their email marketing strategy lead to higher CTR, open rates, and conversion rates! 

Interactive social media posts  
Leverage the power of interactive social media posts to amplify your Halloween campaigns. Utilize both paid and organic tactics to increase reach and engagement. Craft compelling visuals and captivating copy that align with Halloween themes. Run targeted ads to reach specific audience segments, and consider using popular hashtags and trends to boost visibility. 

Pro Tip: It’s easy to showcase playable campaigns on social media, you simply need to create a short screen recording or animation of your games, and add compelling a compelling copy with a great CTA to play! 

Ready to take your Halloween marketing campaigns to the next level? 

We hope this article has provided you with valuable insights and inspiration to create spellbinding Halloween experiences for your audience. By incorporating interactive games, leveraging social media, email marketing, and strategically placed popups, you can engage your customers and leave a lasting impression during this bewitching season. Remember to tap into the latest Halloween stats and facts we shared to guide your campaign strategies.

If you need assistance in crafting effective Halloween marketing campaigns or implementing playable experiences, our dedicated team is here to support you. Reach out to your customer success manager or chat with our support team for expert guidance. 

If you're new to Playable, we invite you to book a demo and discover how we can help you create engaging and successful Halloween campaigns. Let's cast a captivating spell on your audience and make this Halloween season a thrilling experience in 2023!

[Take a demo]