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Make spooktacular returns on the Halloween hype

Americans spent $9.1 billion on Halloween in 2017. If that didn’t bowl you over, did you know that a quarter of all the sweets sold annually in the US is purchased for Halloween? Uh huh – w.t.f.

Halloween is a goldmine holiday for retailers. It originated way back in the day as a Celtic festival called Samhain (prounound Sow-in). Druids would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off spirits and make offerings to appease the pagan Gods.

Today, however, Halloween – or All Hallows’ Eve – is a popular celebration where revelers trick-or-treat, carve pumpkins into Jack-O’-Lanterns and don ghoulish attire. It’s a great opportunity for marketers to drum up excitement and inspire customers to embrace the festivities.

Here are 5 ways to do just that:

1. Fang-tastic subject lines ?

Cast a spell in the inbox! Frighteningly good subject lines can help boost your email open rates.

  • Use seasonal emojis to stand out from competitors ??????
  • Communicate something compelling – think FOMO, limited-time offers, etc.
  • Emphasize urgency in your language and use the scarcity tactic to inspire a quick response from customers
  • Makeover your subject lines with fun, playful words: ‘What’s your poison?’ is a good example from restaurant chain, Las Iguanas
  • Be mysterious and build intrigue; Halloween is all about the unknown, so excite customers with a ‘trick or treat’ proposition or the classic ‘Open if you dare!’

2. Dress up to impress

Halloween is a hotbed for marketing creatives. It’s the time of year to freshen up on design and gain an upper hand on the competition. The holidays only start rolling in from October 31st: Guy Fawkes night, Thanksgiving/Black Friday and Christmas.

Incorporating a Halloween theme in your email template helps stir up seasonal fervor. Spiders cascading down cobwebs, glowing orange pumpkins and scattered autumnal foliage are all nice subtle tweaks. For a bolder look, why not try Michael Myers holding a bloody dagger? #gohardorgohome.

In all seriousness though, don’t throw your brand in the background. Make sure you maintain a healthy balance between your usual design and any spooky touches you make.

Here are some of our favorite creatives ?


Lands’ End takes a stab at Halloween email design in a creative way, using its very own products to compose a quirky collage.


Not strictly Halloween, but similar vibes. NoteMaker sends this creepy Friday 13th email, offering a 13% discount across its site for a limited time. We loved how the brand played on the spooky superstition with the message: ‘unlucky for some, but not for you’.


Baking Mad does a frightfully good job of inspiring subscribers to bake some homemade Halloween treats.

3. Creeping it real with your copy

Halloween is a great time to have a play with words. Have some fun brewing up a pun or two!


3. Razor-sharp segmentation

Audience segmentation should always be top on the marketer’s agenda, and Halloween is no exception. Rather than blast out promotions to your entire database, filter your email audience by preferences and behaviors. Subscribers will be much more likely to engage with messages that are relevant to them – especially so this time of year, amid the ambient noise of the inbox.

Base dynamic content variations on:

  • demographic data such as gender, age or location
  • preferences submitted via a survey
  • personas specific to your brand

Use ecommerce insight to segment:

  • high-value customers
  • frequent buyers
  • recent purchasers

Filter your seasonal customers: 

  • such as those who purchased this time last year
  • or shoppers who’ve previously bought Halloween-themed products

Shoedazzle sends a timely email to its VIP segment, prompting high-value customers to make a steal on Halloween morning.

4. Spook customers with SMS

SMS is the titan text tool. If customers don’t fall under your email’s spell, conjure up an SMS instead. Use this channel to communicate your devilish deals to customers in a fast and direct way.

  • Alert customers of time-sensitive offers
  • Trigger timely nudges to unresponsive email subscribers
  • Try your luck with an awful, spook-worthy pun

5. Celebrate El Día de los Muertos

Vividly colorful calaveras, splashes of face paint, exotic flower crowns and deliciously themed foods that make your mouth water – masses of opportunity for marketers! This festival may well be trendy and hip for us westerners, but for Mexico it’s a huge and beautiful religious celebration.

Literally ‘Day of the Dead’, this holiday is the Latin American equivalent of Halloween. It’s observed on November 1st and, not too dissimilar to All Saints Say, is a celebration of the life of departed loved ones. Although the literal translation of this holiday may put marketers off, it should by no means be ignored. Morbid connotations aside, Día de los Muertos is vibrant, colorful and packed full of Mexican flavor.


  • Let iconic imagery be the focus in your email
  • Incorporate your products naturally
  • Demystify the tradition and educate subscribers
Day of the dead skull. Woman with calavera makeup. Dia de los muertos Text in Spanish. Stock Vector - 46753663

Hopefully this blog has awoken your creative juices and inspired you to treat those reveling consumers. They’ll be on the hunt for something spooktacular, and if you don’t serve up a treat, they’ll go knocking next door!

If you’d like some creative guidance and support on your Halloween campaigns, please get in touch with your account manager.

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