October has arrived, the leaves are falling, and spooky season has officially begun. With Halloween-related spending hitting $12.2 Billion, Halloween provides great promotional opportunities for your restaurant to attract new diners and get your restaurant noticed.
We’re here to provide you with an extensive list of promotional ideas to capitalize on the Halloween festivities—with more than just cobwebs and skeletons.
Here are thirteen Halloween promotional ideas for your restaurant and bar to boost sales this October.
Halloween Specials and Menu Ideas for Restaurants and Bars 🧛♂️
One of the easiest ways to bring the Halloween spirit into your restaurant or bar is with the food and drinks you serve.
New spooky food and drink specials
October is the month of pumpkins, spice, and everything nice—so adding seasonal specials to your menu can go a long way to delight customers and get them talking about your restaurant.
Here are a few menu ideas for Halloween restaurant specials to offer this holiday season.
Halloween food specials
- Pumpkin dessert dip: A fall favorite that can be served with graham crackers or apple slices. Serve it in a pumpkin bowl for a final touch!
- Ghost pizza: A regular margherita pizza can be haunted with ghost-shaped cheese.
- Witches’ fingers: Long, thin cookies with almonds for the nail.
Halloween bar snack ideas
- Pumpkin dessert dip
- Bowl of Worms: Gummy worms
- Mummy Brie: Baked brie cheese mummified in puff pastry.
Halloweeny drinks and brew specials
- Mystery drinks: Creative cocktails with a creepy crawler inside (fake or real)
- Black lemonade: Activated charcoal adds intrigue to a classic drink.
- Brain Jello Shots: Use a mold to level up a regular shot.
The [Halloween promotion] we have seen the most success with are our Manchurian Scorpion Glow shots, which I think would be a fantastic promotion for just about ANY bar. For 200 dollars we sell 250 scorpions, as well as the black light flashlight (as scorpions are bio-luminescent). The scorpion on the shots typically raise the cost of the shot by 2-3 dollars.
Make your menu design creepier
Your menu is a great piece of in-house marketing material you can use to emphasize the Halloween vibes. Change up your regular menu (without creating new dishes) with naming and design to adjust the menu to fit the festivities.
Recommended Reading: Menu Engineering: The Science of Optimizing Your Menu
Swap regular dish names with a spooky version
Change up the names of your menu items to give a new, creepy vibe to your existing dishes. This way, you can skip the hassle and cost of testing out new dishes and keep your menu consistent with what your diners already love.
Here are a few examples.
|Regular menu name
||Halloween menu name
||Vampire Blood Bowl
|Omelette / eggs
||Crispy bat wings
||The devil's eggs
|Chips and salsa
||Bones and entrails
||Dracula's healthy delight
||Haunt dogs or Halloweieners
Give your menu design a scary treatment
Redesign your regular menu with a few cobwebs, bats, or creepy crawlers to bring more Halloween spirit into the dining experience.
Renaming your menu sections can also be a good way to keep those Halloween vibes consistent. For example, instead of Appetizers, rename your starters as “Bewitching Beginnings.” Or swap out the “Mains” with “Eerie Entrees.”
Takeaway: Get creative with your menu names and descriptions to match the October vibes! Have staff suggest names for your dishes and drinks to get the whole team involved. If you’re struggling to be creative, add adjectives like “spooky,” “creepy,” and “weird” to dish names to get the job done.
Partner up with another local business
Don’t have the time or expertise to whip up special Halloween treats? Partner up with a local bakery to offer limited-time Halloween goodies like brownies, cupcakes, and cookies. It's a great way to boost your sales and make stronger connections in the local community.
Plus, the partnership provides an opportunity for you to use each others’ network of social media followers on Instagram and Facebook to promote the offer.
Recommended Reading: Restaurant Instagram Marketing: Creating a Strategy for Your Restaurant
Restaurant and Bar Halloween Parties and Events 🎭
Throw events at your restaurant or bar to attract the Halloween-loving crowd—both before and on Halloween day.
Restaurant operators have booked hundreds of restaurant events in 7shifts this month—from trivia, to special lunches, to full-blown parties. Here are a few Halloween and party event ideas for your restaurant this year.
Throw a Halloween party
Halloween lets people show off their creative side - from punny costume concepts to impressive sewing skills. Offer prizes for first, second, and third place, and decide who judges the costumes. If it’s up to a public vote, are votes counted by paper or cheering? Promote your costume contest online to let partygoers know your restaurant or bar is the place to be on October 31st.
Ensure you communicate with your staff the proper attire for the party, and get ahead of the night by using hiring and Applicant Tracking software through 7shifts.
Host a Halloween trivia night
Bring the Halloween crowd into your bar or restaurant with an October-themed trivia night! Trivia nights are great group events that attract a big crowd. Design a Halloween trivia night to test your diners on their knowledge of horror movies, folklore, and Halloween history.
Host a trick-or-treat event at your restaurant
If you’re a family-friendly establishment, handing out candy or gift bags to trick or treaters is a must! You can attract a lot of foot traffic by having a “trick or treat” welcome sign in your window, especially in urban, walkable areas.
Takeaway: Plan your Halloween events in advance and get the news out on social media (Instagram, Tiktok, Facebook) to encourage guests to “save the date.” To ensure you're properly staffed for the event, use restaurant scheduling software like 7shifts to save time and help you build a schedule that will meet your expected sales and diner needs.
Spooky Halloween Decoration Ideas for your Restaurant/Bar 🎃
People aren’t the only ones who can dress up for Halloween—dress up your restaurant with Halloween props and decorations to draw the eye of pedestrians and make your restaurant an Instagrammable destination.
Decor can be as simple as hanging cobwebs and bats from the ceiling, but there’s a lot more you can do to drive the spooky theme home.
Atmospheric Halloween decorations
Atmospheric decorations are the simple things you can do to give your establishment that unique October vibe. Hanging cobwebs, bats, and propping skeletons up around your restaurant or bar is an easy way to get into the Halloween spirit. Dollar stores are often packed with simple Halloween decorations in October, so you can deck our your space without breaking the bank.
Before you dress up your restaurant for Halloween, think about your brand and how you can introduce new decor in a way that emphasizes your brand—rather than detracting from it.
If you work in a classy, full-service restaurant, table candles, instrumental Halloween music, and dimmed lights could be the right approach. On the other hand, if you’re a fun bar hangout for college students, going all out with hanging skeletons, giant fake spiders, and even motion-activated door decor is a great way to attract and delight the young adult crowd.
Halloween decor ideas for upscale restaurants and bars:
- Fall and pumpkin-scented candles
- Autumn colored decor (burgundy, mustard yellow, orange, dark green, olive green)
- Fake leaves
- Instrumental Halloweeny music
Halloween decor ideas for casual bars and restaurants
- Hanging skeletons and bats
- Creepy wall and window decals
- Halloween music
- A Halloween Instagram wall (more below)
- Skulls and bones on tables
- Severed limbs
- Fog machine
Be mindful if your restaurant is family-friendly, as you don’t want to go over-the-top with scary decorations that frighten the children that frequent your establishment. However, fun window decals, and jack-o-lanterns can create an inviting environment for the kids.
Halloween ideas for family-friendly restaurants:
- Ghostly window and wall decals
- Colorful Halloween banners and streamers
Takeaway: Brainstorm on decor ideas that fit your restaurant brand and check out the local dollar stores to stock up on all the supplies you’ll need. If you need a hand with set-up, make a mini staff event out of decorating the restaurant to get everyone involved in the Halloween transition.
Halloween table decorations
Table decorations are a great way to add a little spooky spirit to your guests’ dining experience, and are also quite versatile to fit your restaurant’s brand.
- Halloween napkins are a great idea If your restaurant is fun and laid-back
- Fall-themed napkins (orange, dark green, burgundy, brown) add a subtle hint to the season for a fine-dining establishment
- Halloween-themed party plates are great for serving finger food at the bar
- Mini cauldrons to serve soups and dips are a great choice if you want to go the extra mile
- A flower-filled skull makes a great centerpiece with a creepy yet elegant vibe
- An Autumn or pumpkin-scented candle with fake leaves makes a great centrepiece for full-service restaurants
- A fake (or real) jack-o-lantern makes a great addition to any table in October—don’t forget the candle!
- Halloween-themed wine glass charms can bring new Halloweeny vibes to your bar or restaurant’s drinkware
- Adding fake, edible creatures like spiders and ghosts to drinks can be a cute way to serve drinks and boost sales
Takeaway: With your brand in mind, head to the dollar store to check out fall and Halloween-themed table decor like candles, creatures, and themed napkins. Spicing up your tables for Halloween can give your guest’s dining experience that extra “oomph” and get your restaurant’s new atmosphere all over Instagram.
“Decorate” your staff
Inviting your staff to dress up for Halloween is a win-win—your guests will love being enveloped in the Halloweeny atmosphere, and your staff get to be creative and have fun at work.
Depending on your type of restaurant, you may want to stick with more subtle costumes, such as adding cat ears, witch hats, or masquerade masks to their regular attire. If you have a more casual bar or restaurant, you can go all-out with witches, ghosts, goblins, and more.
No matter what your restaurant brand is, be sure to provide a list of guidelines, including dos and don’ts, so your staff can dress up appropriately. Making mention of things like what amount of gore/fake blood (if any) is acceptable, what size of costume is acceptable, and other considerations such as the use of sharp or dangerous objects in the costume.
Need ideas? One server commented on reddit that they dressed up as a mime one year:
A mime. I did it one year when I was on tables and made a pretty penny without having to speak to a single customer all night. It happened four years ago, and I still can't stop thinking about it.
Recommended Reading: Halloween Costume Ideas for Restaurant Workers
A Halloween Instagram Wall
Want to make your restaurant the talk of the town for Halloween? Invest in a Halloween-themed Instagram wall for your restaurant will not only be a fun activity for guests to take pictures, but also get your restaurant posted on Instagram and TikTok to attract other locals through your doors.
You don’t have to get too fancy with your Instagram wall either—some spooky decorations like spiders, ghosts, and creatures on an empty wall can do the trick. You can easily find Halloween decals at dollar stores and department stores. Make it even more Instagrammable with string lights and a sign, too!
Don’t forget to ask guests tag you in their posts!
Halloween Contests & Deals for Your Restaurant or Bar 💸
Run a social media Halloween costume contest
Launch a costume contest on your Instagram or TikTok to get an influx of cool costumes and followers. The rules of the contest should include following your account and tagging your restaurant/bar in their post or story.
Consider what kind of qualifications there will be to choose a winner—uniqueness? Creativity? Creepiness? Whatever you choose, make it clear!
Plus, with all the posts coming in with cool costumes, you’ll have plenty of new photos you can repost to celebrate your creative diners.
Tip: Try setting rules that encourage more creative costumes. For reference, the top five costumes for adults are witches, vampires, zombies, pirates, and Avengers characters.
Have a jack-o-lantern contest
Host a family-friendly pumpkin carving contest where people pay an entry fee that includes a bonus like a free drink or appetizer. Put the jack-o-lanterns on display so that other diners can vote on their favorites throughout the month. On Halloween, the pumpkin carver with the most votes can win a gift card to your business or other sweet prizes.
Offer special deals to diners in the spooky spirit
Keep it simple with a scary good deal. Try these Halloween promotional ideas on for size for your restaurant or bar:
- Offer a 10% discount to guests who are dressed up
- Offer little ghouls and goblins a free meal with the purchase of an adult entree like Outback Steakhouse
- Let kids eat free if they’re in costume like McAlister’s Deli
- Offer a specially-named menu item for a scary good price like Chipotle
Don't let Halloween creep up on you
Plan ahead for your fall festivities so you’re well prepared when October 31st rolls around. Whatever Halloween promotional ideas you use, make sure to market them through your website, Instagram and TikTok! New decorations, costumed staff, and sneak peeks of your new Halloween specials provide great content to stop a scroller’s thumb.
If you try any of these ideas, be sure to tag our Instagram @7shifts as well!
To help ensure you’re properly scheduled for the Halloween rush, use 7shifts to schedule based on projected sales calculated from your past Halloween. You can send reminder announcements to come dressed up, then pay out earned tips and wages - all through 7shifts.
Now go get spookin’!
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