Halloween is one of the most expensive and, therefore, most profitable holidays in North America.
It may sound like a trick to hang $12 billion in front of a predominately ecommerce audience.
After all, in-store retail commands the majority of that pie. But here’s the treat: When it comes to Halloween inspiration, ecommerce and digital win by a landslide.
Though Halloween might not be marked down as one of your big promotional seasons, maybe it’s time you start thinking of it in terms of opportunity.
To inspire you, here are 14 Halloween marketing campaigns from wickedly profitable—and wickedly clever—ecommerce brands:
- Urban Outfitters
- Kylie Cosmetics
- Fashion Nova
- Jeffree Star Cosmetics
- Burger King
FitVine, a popular brand in the health-conscious alcoholic beverage sector, initiated a playful email marketing campaign to draw attention to its unique low-sugar wine offerings. The campaign ingeniously integrates Halloween-themed elements to showcase the brand’s products while emphasizing their health benefits.
Halloween-themed email from FitVine promoting its low-sugar wines. Really Good Emails
With ghosts, candy corn, and other spooky elements, the campaign was filled with Halloween festivities. In addition to grabbing attention, these visuals embody Halloween, making the email more relevant and timely.
Instead of using overly promotional language, a playful and engaging narrative was created around the brand and its products. A tagline like “Really good wine, without the scary stuff” encapsulates FitVine’s message.
By connecting the scary elements of Halloween to the unwanted components in standard wine, this clever play on words emphasizes the brand’s commitment to making high-quality wines without unnecessary and unhealthy additives.
Using visually rich and contextually relevant email content, FitVine built a more personalized and immersive email experience.
Using Attentive, Sprayground used a text campaign to market its Halloween collection in an innovative way. Incorporating a funny GIF of vibrant, mummy-like creatures emerging from graves in its message, the company captured the spirit of Halloween with an amusing and innovative approach.
The message featured playful copy, like “BOO!” and a charming rhyme, “When witches go ridin & 3 bags are seen, the moon laughs & whispers ‘tis near Halloween,” further emphasizing the festive theme. By blending humor and creativity, Sprayground presented its collection in an engaging and relevant way, proving that thematic, visually driven marketing campaigns can boost brand visibility and engagement during the holidays.
Heinz, in collaboration with Firework, unveiled a unique Halloween pop-up event, leveraging the playful concept of “tomato blood” ketchup to engage families nationwide in festive costume creations. This innovative campaign was broadcasted via a dynamic livestream on Heinz’s official site that was shoppable, so viewers could buy costume kits right from the stream.
The initiative campaign not only surpassed expectations but also earned accolades, clinching a bronze award at the Festival of Media and a gold at the Internationalist Awards for Innovation in Media, emerging as one of the most notable campaigns of the year.
The team produced a unique 23-minute livestream featuring influencers and Team2Moms, and drew more than 315,000 replay viewers in the initial two days, doubling the expected number of live viewers, to more than 5,000. Additionally, Firework’s strategic media and social media distribution helped Heinz reach its target audience effectively, with the campaign generating over 16 million impressions across different platforms.
To make things interesting, mattress company Koala invited its fans to scour its website for Halloween Easter eggs, i.e., hidden images, throughout.
Spot the spooky skeleton in the window, pumpkin on the nightstand, spider under the bed, bloody sign, and scary hand under the bed.
This adds an extra layer of engagement. Why? Because it forces people, fans and potential customers, to look at the website more closely.
It invites past and future visitors to really look at the images on the site, take in the visuals, scour each image, and read every line of text.
Plus, the whole thing—especially the contest—unfolded on social:
To make such a campaign really work, the Easter eggs need to be clever and smartly placed throughout a site, yet easy(ish) enough for people to be able to spot them so they can take part in the contest.
Fanjoy helps influencers become entrepreneurs. The brand sells more than just merchandise. It helps influencers sell a piece of themselves to their audiences and build meaningful connections.
For Halloween, Fanjoy takes that guiding principle with YouTube, television, and social-media juggernaut Jake Paul literally (almost).
In what is perhaps the greatest description bullet of all time, Fanjoy notes, “MASK IS MADE OF PLASTIC WITH A STRING TO HOLD ON YOUR HEAD.”
The $9.95 mask—which was marked down to $5—may not sound like much, but with 776 wishlist adds, a dozen five-star reviews, and the wave of UGC that followed, the point wasn’t to create a high-margin bestseller.
The point was to give fans joy!
If you’re tempted to think the mask isn’t part of Fanjoy’s merchandising masterplan, it seasonally released a host of other influencer-led products around the holiday:
6. Urban Outfitters
Never a brand to take itself too seriously, Urban Outfitters made headlines earlier this month with the release of an Influencer Halloween Costume Set:
Along with viral social media status, this Halloween marketing campaign is earned-media exposure at its finest. You know what they say: “No press is bad press.”
Honorable mention also goes to Urban Outfitters for its Bob Ross costume:
7. Kylie Cosmetics
Makeup and Halloween go hand-in-hand, and Kylie Cosmetics took this opportunity to create something spooktacular. On a dedicated Halloween page, the brand isn’t selling only special edition cosmetics, but also packaging and naming them on theme.
Even Kylie Cosmetics’ social media is on point with themed photos, unique uses for the cosmetics (other than the typical ready-to-wear), and images of how makeup artists are using its Halloween collection.
8. Fashion Nova
Dressing up is the best part of Halloween (arguably better than the candy). Fashion Nova is going all in on outfitting women, men, kids, and even dogs with special promotional pricing.
What’s more, Fashion Nova’s stories on Instagram, videos on Facebook and Twitter, and photo collections of its costumes are all accompanied by catchy one-liners like “Boo’d up,” and “Too cute to spook,” and some others that are NSFW.
Together, Fashion Nova’s Halloween marketing campaign is a multichannel ecommerce masterpiece of being on brand, especially the NSFW captions.
It’s not enough to have a sale or join in on the holiday fun only on your site.
Whatever you choose to do, and however you choose to do it, always make sure to promote it and optimize it on your various channels.
The online sunglass store has a spooky surprise for everyone. Click—if you dare!—on the Death Tarot on the homepage to reveal your fate. (OK, not really.)
Once on the Halloween page, you can get your future foretold by the sunglass-wearing skeleton fortune teller.
Although you don’t actually have to go through the process to redeem the up to 70% site-wide discount, it definitely makes it more interesting. What’s great is that you don’t expect something like this from an online sunglasses retailer.
Learn more: O2O commerce
10. Jeffree Star Cosmetics
Makeup makes you feel like a queen. The folks at Jeffree Star Cosmetics know this to be true. So much so, in fact, the company shares its fans’ photos and videos on its social media feed.
The other undeniable fact about makeup: Most costumes worth their salt have solid makeup to truly bring the look home. And sometimes the makeup is so on fleek you don’t even need a costume because the makeup stands on its own.
Sharing how your fans are using your product is one of the best ways to do social media right. Not only does it invite creativity, it also invites fans to keep posting about your product and brand. It’s a win-win that never ends.
Ring, the video doorbell, has a new feature just in time for Halloween: scary and spooky chime tones.
Like ghosts fluttering around, a wolf howling at the moon, or bats scattering about, these chimes are the perfect addition to any Halloween-friendly house.
So maybe it’s not a Halloween campaign, but this one gets an honorable mention. Because what could possibly be better than having spooky sounds come out of your video doorbell when kids come knocking? Because really, doorbells and scary sounds go together like trick-or-treat.
“Heartwarming” and “Halloween” don’t always go together, so this is probably a first. In its Halloween flier, Target includes a young girl with leg braces as Princess Elsa. Because princesses come in all shapes and sizes!
The Halloween lesson here is that not all campaigns have to cost crazy amounts of money. The best campaigns are sometimes the most obvious or the most subtle.
Carts that move on their own, heads hiding behind toilet paper, frozen hands, and more frights await unsuspecting shoppers.
What makes this campaign great is the unexpectedness of it. Prior to this, no one really expected a supermarket to offer up some laughs and starts. And the fact that only two of the nearly 7,000 Tesco stores are taking part makes it even more unexpected for shoppers.
The game is well played because it’s just scary enough to make you laugh-scream, but not scary enough that your kids will run away and have nightmares for months—which is the trick when your customers are quite literally all ages.
14. Burger King
This somewhat creepy commercial plays on all that’s great with holiday marketing campaigns: joining in on the joke, speaking the pop culture lingo, and being memorable. The campaign rolled out in various countries around the world, including the US, the UK, and Brazil.
Halloween is definitely a more playful holiday, so if you’re going to take part and spend the money, make sure you have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to go all out, because that’s usually what gets customers talking (and sharing).
Happy halloween marketing
The holidays—all holidays—are always a great time to connect with your customers on a more personal level. Halloween can be a time to bring out the scary, the surprises, and the games, and you can celebrate this holiday with your audience in whatever way works best.
As one of the most underutilized holidays as far as marketing goes, this is every brand’s opportunity to shine. Take advantage of the billions being spent (in the United States alone) to draw your audience closer. Almost anything goes when it comes to Halloween marketing.
Halloween campaigns FAQ
How do you promote Halloween events?
A lot of marketers use multichannel marketing strategies to promote Halloween events, like social media ads, email marketing, and local promotions. To get people to show up, they might use Halloween-themed images, themes, and promos like costume contests.
What is a popular product being advertised for Halloween?
Costumes are a popular Halloween product, with companies promoting everything from the latest pop culture characters to traditional scares. To entice consumers, brands advertise candy with seasonal packaging, limited-edition flavors, and deals.