Thrill Your Customers with Creative Halloween Contests

Posted in: EventsLast update: 06/09/19

Autumn comes, leaves fall, and the days grow shorter and darker. What else does October bring? Halloween! Smart brands are already making the most of Halloween contests and competitions to get leads and reward customer loyalty. Here’s how to join the parade.

“Among Halloween celebrants, 71 percent plan to hand out candy, 49 percent will decorate their home or yard, 48 percent will wear costumes, 46 percent will carve a pumpkin, 35 percent will throw or attend a party, 31 percent will take their children trick-or-treating, 23 percent will visit a haunted house and 16 percent will dress pets in costumes… Ten percent of pet lovers will dress their animal in a pumpkin costume.” – National Retail Federation

Halloween is one of the most creative holidays in our marketing calendar. As we’ve just seen from the National Retail Federation, consumers are getting involved with all kinds of fun – from candy to costumes, events, and crafts. That creates a lot of opportunities for a lot of different brands.

On the other hand, you can’t just throw a pumpkin at the wall and see what sticks. Simply creating a promotion with a Halloween theme is not enough. You need to choose the right channel, competition, and prize. In this post, we’ve collected our 3 favorite Halloween contests, with real examples from the experts.

🎃🎃🎃 Find even more resources at our Halloween campaign hub. Get free templates for social media, play with our Halloween demos, and read up on our seasonal research. 🎃🎃🎃

How to plan Halloween contests

There is no magic formula for making your promotion go viral. However, when you plan your Halloween contests carefully, your chances of success increase. So here are some key factors to consider:

  • Who’s your audience? Brainstorm about your Halloween customers, or use existing buyer personas. Depending on their profile, some followers will prefer different Halloween contests from others.
  • What’s the prize? The prize motivates your followers to take part. So choose something which customers value, which illustrates your brand, and which is relevant to Halloween.
  • Where’s the benefit? There are loads of potential reasons to run Halloween contests, from lead generation to highlighting new products and collecting user-generated content. Figure out what you need from your Halloween competitions, then design accordingly.
  • What’s the publicity strategy? Use every channel available to share your Halloween contests. Think about social media, email, websites, in-store messaging, and more.

Our best Halloween contest ideas

Traditionally, Halloween is a festival of fear and scary stories. But it’s a happy time of year for marketers… because the Halloween theme can be adapted for almost any brand, product, or audience.

So think imaginatively about how your brand can connect! Read on for 3 creative Halloween contest ideas. These Halloween competitions are designed to collect leads and content, reward loyal customers, and give your followers a chance to stretch their creative muscles.

Halloween writing contests

Telling scary stories is an unbreakable tradition at sleepovers or round the campfire. Now this ancient tradition exists online, too – in the form of Twitter threads and Facebook posts.

Users share their spooky tales over a series of posts, building suspense and getting attention with a perfectly-tailored hashtag. Take a look at this hilarious horror story parody, created by two Twitter accounts working together.

Now you can crowd-source your own Halloween horror! Invite your followers to share their creepiest tales with a Halloween writing contest.

Screenshot of a Halloween contest for writers. Users are challenged to share their scariest stories under 1000 words.

If you’re not a horror fan, then just put your own spin on the Halloween theme. For example, you could ask followers for their best Halloween recipes or funny anecdotes.

Halloween photo contests

Photo contests are fun for followers – and the possibilities are endless! Ask your online community to share costume photos, selfies, Halloween decorations, and more.

They’ll be able to share photos from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or in the competition app. Next, you can display all the photos in a public gallery, where users can view entries, share, and vote for their favorites.

This is a great way to bridge the gap between different social networks, and unite your online communities. Choose a competition theme with broad-based appeal. Cute pets in creepy costumes are always a favourite – like this adorable cat-o-lantern, below. Other popular ideas include themed costumes or couples’ costumes.

3 screenshots from a Halloween photo contest for pets. A bulldog dressed as a minion; a chihuahua dressed as Carol Burnett; a pug dressed as a killer clown.

💀💀💀 Click the links to try our photo contests for Halloween and the Día de los Muertos. Then use the templates to create your own creepy contest! 💀💀💀

Collect user-generated content for Halloween

Take your promotions to the next level by combining comments, photos, and even videos in a hashtag contest. Followers can take part from within Twitter and Instagram.

In the example below, a special effects brand asked their customers to show off their creative ideas for dry ice decorations and special effects. They just had to upload photos or videos of their Halloween decorations to compete.

Because people joined the Halloween decorations competition from Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, they could explain their ideas in the comments, too. Finally, the brand came up with a catchy hashtag: #frightfullycool.

Banner from a Halloween photo contest. The main image shows a witch bending over a cauldron full of dry ice.

Pick out a killer hashtag to get your promotion noticed. We recommend something short, original, and witty. Ideally, it should refer to both your brand and the Halloween theme. Take a look at your social networks for inspiration. For example, around Halloween, there’s a Twitter tradition of swapping profile names for spooky puns.


Corinna Keefe

Content marketer at Easypromos

Publication date: 2017-10-18