It is not long until the night of ghostly goings on. The great news is that Halloween is on a Saturday this year meaning licensees have a great opportunity to profit from the day and the entire weekend.
Halloween has already become one of the biggest nights in the year for the pub calendar. In fact, research by Him! in 2014 revealed it was the third-biggest event behind Christmas and Easter. So what can licensees do to make the most of the day and ensure it is a success?
Don’t forget the kids
With the weekend of Halloween falling during half term, there is a great opportunity to boost profits during the day as well as the evening.
After decorating the pub in the Halloween theme, licensees could run a family fun day with bobbing for apples, face painting, fancy dress and children’s games. A prize for the best-dressed child will be low cost and spark up some interest.
An event such as a horror movie-themed pub quiz or a fancy dress night can bring in the evening punters. This year, the Little Yellow Door bar in London’s Notting Hill is running a dead cartoon house party.
Fancy dress is mandatory and guests are invited to dress up as their favourite childhood cartoon, in a zombie style. It suggests that customers: “Soak your Donald Duck suit in blood, pimp your Powerpuff Girl costume with fangs, or go as mutant Hello Kitty. The more bizarre, the better, and the best costume will
Theme your menu
Get customers into the spirit with a range of Halloween-themed food. You don’t have to go as far as restaurant El Patron, the Mexican bar and kitchen, in south-west London, that is offering a bespoke selection of insect tacos and marinated cockroaches this year.
Why not try using seasonal produce such as squashes, swede and, of course, pumpkin? Make your own Halloween pumpkin pie or tasty soup, which is an easy and cost-effective option.
Offer an experience
Theatre is at the centre of Halloween Cocktail Cauldrons, which are making a return this year along with mixing guides, fun PoS and posters featuring four ghoulish Halloween-themed cocktail recipes.
A range of cocktails ‘WKD Bolt from the Blue’ (WKD Blue, port and lemonade); ‘Boo Suede Juice’ (WKD Vegas Limited Edition mixed with Amaretto, spiced rum and lemonade); ‘WKD Zombie Zinger’ (WKD Red, coconut rum, raspberry liqueur and lemonade) and ‘WKD Pumpkin Grin’ (Iron Brew, spiced rum and fiery ginger beer) can be easily produced for consumers and served with the theatre of the cauldrons.
Debs Carter, marketing director for alcohol at SHS Drinks, says: “Young adults thrive on social occasions and shared experiences, and Halloween is a key calendar event.
“WKD’s Halloween Cocktail Cauldrons and recipes provide the theatre and excitement, which will help licensees to create a fun and vibrant atmosphere and maximise the Halloween sales opportunity.”
Similarly, Hobgoblin, Wychwood Brewery’s self-styled unofficial beer of Halloween, is also supporting licensees with 7,500 kits featuring a flashing pumpkin hand-pull top, hand-pull Halloween sleeve, bar runner, drip mats and T-shirts emblazoned with Hobgoblin’s ‘Wheel of Misfortune’ promotion.
Jo Wyke, brand manager for Wychwood, says: “Our ‘Season of Mischief’ is bigger and better and the added bonus of reaching the 10th anniversary this year, reinforces its position as the unofficial beer of Halloween.”
Everyone likes some entertainment on a night out.
Theme yours in Halloween style like Archer Street, Soho, which is running a Michael Jackson’s Thriller night this year.
The bar will be transformed in a glowing graveyard with mini tombstones and scary skeletons with guests able to order a special Thriller cocktail for £4.95.
Staff at the venue will be dressed up and, because they are known for both their singing as well as waiting of tables, the venue will put on a musical show inspired by the infamous 1980s music video.
And don’t forget...
It doesn’t matter what event you put on if you don’t promote it. You can have all your GPs worked out, your chef ready to go with Halloween specials and bar staff primed for Halloween-themed drinks, but there is no point if no one knows about it.
Give yourself a good lead-time to advertise the event, ensure staff are on board promoting it to the reg-ular customers, use A-boards, posters, banners, table runners, the local newspaper (either by placing an advert or persuading them to run a story) and social media.