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Halloween Contest Ideas to Grow Your Audience5 minutes

July 29, 2016 4 min read
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Halloween Contest Ideas to Grow Your Audience5 minutes

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Halloween–that time of year when everyone gets to dress up and pretend to be something they’re not. Running giveaways leading up to Halloween can be a great tactic in building up an audience and increasing sales. To help, we’ve assembled a list of the top Halloween contest ideas to make your job easy.

In 2016, 171 Million Americans planned to celebrate Halloween, with total Halloween spending reaching $8.4 billion. That’s an all-time record, and if you’re a Halloween retailer, then you know how vital the months leading up to Halloween can be.

Here are a few Halloween contest ideas that you can use to build an audience and increase sales before the holiday.

These ideas will work better for businesses who serve the Halloween niche. However, with a little creativity, any business can make some of these ideas work for them.

Halloween Contest Ideas

A contest is a giveaway where  a winner is determined based on voting or some type of judging.

Compared to sweepstakes (winners drawn at random), contests require significant effort to enter. For example: creating a costume vs. giving an email. Since the barrier to entry is higher, make sure the prizes are attractive to encourage more people to enter.

Halloween Costume Contest

Have people submit photos of their previous Halloween costumes, letting people from your community vote for the best costume. Alternatively, you can be the judge and pick a winner.

You can obviously tweak this concept and apply it to whatever it is that you do. For example, if you own a pet business, you can run a pet costume contest and have people submit photos of their pet in a costume.

If you run a store that sells baby clothes, you can run a cutest baby costume contest and have people submit photos of their baby in a costume.

ViralSweep makes it easier than ever to run a photo or video contest. This is a great way to create user generated content to share with your audience!

You can embed a gallery on your website to showcase all the costumes to website visitors.

Scream Contest

Have people submit videos of their scariest/creepiest scream, and have your community vote on a winner. Alternatively, you can be the judge and pick a winner.

Scariest Short Story Contest

Have people submit a spooky short story (perhaps about ghost zombie aliens?) and have your community choose a winner; or you can judge the stories and pick a winner.

Halloween Sweepstakes and Giveaway Ideas

By running sweepstakes and giveaways, people enter for a chance to win a prize and the winner is chosen at random. With this type of giveaway there is virtually no barrier to entry (usually just an email address is required), so you will get a lot more entries than with a contest.

Costume Giveaway

Giving away a complete costume is a great way to build up a list of people interested in a particular style or theme.

To really take this to the next level, you could give away a different costume every day or week. Then you can segment all the people who entered each individual giveaway into a separate list based on the theme. You can then re-market to each of these unique email lists.

For example, if your giveaway prize is a superhero costume, you can segment the list of emails into a superhero-specific list.

When you’re ready to push your Halloween costume lineup, you can email that particular list specials on superhero products.

Be mindful: if someone with the same email enters several of your themed giveaways, send them just one email with all of the themes rather than an email for each specific theme.

Accessory Giveaway

Consider giving away costume accessories, and then encouraging entrants to buy a whole costume from you.

Party Giveaway

Give away an entire party setup (lights, decorations, candy, fog machine, etc.) or pick a few select items that will bring a Halloween party to the next level.

Some of the largest spenders during Halloween are the party hosts. We’re big believers in providing experiential prizes through giveaways, because it provides the winner with a lasting memory rather than more ‘stuff’.

What sort of memories can your giveaway create?

Product Bundle Giveaway

Offering a bundle of products together will raise your value proposition and increase your entries, helping your promotion really take off.

Instead of giving away one costume, you can giveaway costumes for a family of four. The bundle can include any two adult costumes and any two children costumes.

You can get even more creative with your product bundles, and offer a bundle where you give away a variety of different products based around a particular theme.

For example, if a grocery store wants to do a vampire-themed bundle, they can give away a gift basket filled with different types of garlic foods, wooden utensils, red wines, etc.

Bundles will attract attention, get shared more, and can help bring in more sales during Halloween.

Choose the right prize

Remember, as creative as your contest or sweepstakes may be, if the prize is not worth people’s time, your promotion won’t see much success. A successful giveaway has a strong value proposition—we like to provide an experience over giving away more “stuff.”

While deciding on your contest idea, make sure you pick a prize that is related to what your business does, and is something that people will want.

Next Holiday Black Friday


Updated August 29, 2017

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Giancarlo is the co-founder of ViralSweep, the viral marketing platform for businesses. Connect with him on Twitter.