Fun costumes, spooky movies, creative decorations, and piles of candy: what’s not to love about Halloween? It brings out the child-like playfulness, creativity, and spirited excitement in just about everyone.
As a restaurant, you’ve got the opportunity to feed into that joyful excitement with special events for the season, so grab the chance before the winter holidays takeover! Throwing a Halloween party at your restaurant is a wonderful way to make a solid profit, but it also shows customers that your spot is one to have fun at.
Throw an unforgettable Halloween party that benefits your business by following these simple tips.
1. Serve Special (Spooky) Food and Drinks
Half the fun of Halloween is dressing up in something special. Stay on-theme and dress your regular menu up to be extra spooky for your Halloween party. The best parties are the ones that leave no detail untouched, so get creative and think outside the box when you’re creating a theme menu.
One-of-a-kind, exclusive menu items will entice customers and help boost your sales. Rename drinks you already make to sound extra spooky (call your house red the “Blood of Your Enemies” and dub your Long Island Iced Tea the “Grave Digger”), or come up with a list of beverages with totally unique ingredients, like fake eyeballs, dry ice, gummy worms, Halloween candies, and more.
Do the same for your food menu and consider offering special party discounts to entice customers even more. Go the extra mile and print on-theme party menus for attendees, or create QR code menus to save paper and keep things simple.
It isn’t a party until there’s a crowd! Make sure the effort you’ve put into planning your Halloween party pays off by advertising sufficiently and strategically in the weeks leading up to the event. Print flyer advertising the party to hang in-house and at various spots around town.
Likewise, use social media to your advantage and post, post, post about your party. Create an on-theme graphic to promote the party with a post including details like location, time, dress code, and entry fee. Advertise about drink and food specials with a sneak peek photo of a particularly tempting treat. Pin your advertisements to the top of your social media pages or keep the party info in an Instagram highlight so that anyone who visits your page is reminded of the event right away.
While a fun Halloween party is an incentive in itself, it can’t hurt to offer up some extra temptations for customers who might be on the fence about attending. Make your Halloween party one that’s highly anticipated by advertising a special prize (like a free round of spooky shots, a giftcard, free merch, a dessert, etc.) for the individual or group who wears the best costume.
If a costume contest isn’t your jam, you can keep the competitive spirit alive by holding a raffle. Sell tickets for a small price to either use as party profit or to put towards a good cause (the latter could incentivize people even more).
People will likely be taking photos at the party, so capitalize on this by asking attendees to share their photos of the event with a special hashtag unique to your restaurant. Award a random participant with a fun prize the next day. This will attract plenty of eyes to your social pages and get folks posting about your place. Make it extra special and enticing with a custom-made photo backdrop for the party.
4. Partner for the Party
Kick things up a notch and make your party double the fun by partnering with another local spot to host the event. You could collaborate with a neighboring restaurant, a dessert truck, a nonprofit organization, a brewery, a local art gallery — pick your poison, and watch it transform your party.
Collaborating for a party means you’ll get double the advertisements and lots of potential new faces at your restaurant. Maybe you’ll choose to partner with a nonprofit and donate a portion of party proceeds to their cause, or maybe you’ll pair your restaurant’s popular dishes with a local vineyard’s new wine. Either way, don’t forget to advertise about your party partnership.
5. Set the Mood
A Halloween party is only as good as its decorations are, and that’s a fact. Give the people what they want and make it a night to remember for all the right reasons.
While you’ll probably have plenty of cobwebs, skeletons, and orange balloons to hang up, don’t forget the little things. Dim the lights in your place or make it super special with red, purple, or orange-colored lights. Switch out your regular playlist for a spooky one, or set up a professional DJ booth. Decorate everywhere, even in the bathrooms. "Terrify" guests and hire a haunted house actor, or have your staff dress as zombies.
Order on-theme plates, napkins, and cutlery. Find some horrific drinkware for your special cocktails, order a smoke machine, or even make some custom signage for the party. If it’s a family-friendly event, consider playing Halloween movies on your screens or projecting them on the walls. Offer fun props for photo-ops like witch hats, fangs, fake(!) bloody knives. Like they say, the devil’s in the details.
Whether you’re looking to throw a fun-for-the-family community event at your restaurant or an all-adult, all-night-long bash, Halloween is the time to do it. Make your restaurant the talk of the town by throwing a Halloween party that pulls out all the stops.