Everyone loves Halloween. It is the silliest, scariest, and most delightfully active holiday of the year and it signifies the beginning of the greater holiday season.
Even people who consider themselves too old or well grounded to get a costume and go partying or trick-or-treating still manage to have a great time making vampire puns and noshing on pumpkin cookies all month long.
When it comes to sampling campaigns, Halloween and the entire month of October is a great time to make the most of this rising playful energy as people prepare their costumes, plan their parties, and altogether have a great time with our favorite holiday all about playing pretend.
Sampling campaigns during October are the perfect way to not only bring in a lot of festive attention, but also to get your products into the spread of Halloween parties all over the country.
Even if your products aren't specifically Halloween themed, take a look at the amazing DIY snack decor and get creative. Blue corn chips become fried bat wings, manila cookies become tombstones, and anything orange has potential. Ready for your holiday sampling event? Here are five tips to guide you through our spookiest promotional season.
1) Announce the Spooktacular
People can't come to your fantastic event unless you announce it. Take on every communication channel available to you. Announce it over social media, make an episode of your video series, write a blog about it, and ask a few local news outlets to help you get the word out. While normally you might try to maintain some decorum, now is the time for incredible silliness. Encourage your marketing team to make ample use of spooky puns and monster metaphors. Your target audience will giggle themselves all the way to your event.
Spin the event not just as a sampling opportunity for interested parties, but as another Halloween party alternative for those who enjoy attending as many parties as possible throughout the month of October. Encourage people to show up in costume and in character and consider preparing a few awesome events like a costume contest. This is also a great opportunity to get video of people in costume enjoying your products.
2) The 13th and the 31st
Most people haven't realized it yet, but this October there are two important and excellently spooky dates to remember. October 13 falls on a Friday this year, giving you not only the main event, but an opportunity for a warm-up scary costumed party as well. A Friday the 13th sampling party is perfect for pre-Halloween promotions because it gets your spookified products out there being tried by customers before they throw their own Holloween parties or decide what to bring to those they attend. Your goal is to encourage anyone who shows up to include your products in their party spread. This is also your opportunity to invite everyone to join you on the big day as well in full costume and ready to take pictures with the product.
For the main event on Halloween day (or a couple days beforehand), prepare to go all-out. With your venue's permission, do your best to through a real Halloween bash that rivals work parties and private soirees everywhere. Prepare plenty of room for guests to dance, show off their costumes, and play with the samples because they will if you let them.
3) Spooky Samples
Now that you've got the dates set and the plans in motion, it's time to decorate. No matter what you're sampling, from flavored liquor to sugar cookies, make sure it appears as Halloween themed as possible. In fact, your best bet is to get completely creative and show off how your product can be used in half a dozen different spooky decorative ways on someone's Halloween party snack or drink spread. Make ghosts, mummies, pumpkins, bats, black cats, witch hats, or monsters. Anything that fits the theme of scary, spooky, and delightfully silly should not only please your target audience but give them ideas for how they can use your product at home.
The booth or sampling area should also be extravagantly decorated to suit your theme. Drape things with red cloth for pooling blood, use white crepe paper for mummy wraps, and don't be shy about putting googly eyes on absolutely everything.
4) Turn Out the Lights
If you can, darken the area you'll be sampling in. This is especially effective if your event is during the day, as unexpected darkness is what Halloween is all about. If the venue is large, try to pick a corner you can darken and consider draping cloth above the party area to block more light. But you're not done yet. Once the light level is brought down, it's time to get spooky. Use black lights and reactive paint to put ghosts, glowing eyes, and monsters on anything you can. If you can get away with it, bring a laser light show and smoke machine to really get the party going. Finally, rock the Halloween playlist. You want everything from the Monster Mash to Type O Negative to get everyone in the mood.
5) Get Into Character
With everything carefully prepared for the most rocking sampling events of the year, it's time to get into costume. Every one of your sampling staff should have their own costume that is both delightful and easily identifies them as a managing power for the party. Corporate witches, gala ghosts, or even a cast of classic monsters are a great way to get into the Halloween spirit and show customers that they will not be the only ones in costume. Don't forget to actually get into character by playing up the role, speaking in a special voice, and even running the sampling campaign as the characters.
Halloween is the perfect holiday for a sampling campaign because people don't want to just watch scary movies, they want to get involved in real spooky events. They go to haunted houses, wear costumes to work, and attend half a dozen Halloween parties before the 31st even rolls around. Get your sampling campaign into this active season and you're sure to see more than a few sales as a result.