Trick or treat: the pros and cons of jumping on the Halloween bandwagon


Halloween has been a favourite holiday tradition in America for centuries, dating as far back as the 17th century as ‘All Hallows Eve’. Its modern incarnation, however, has a much more cheerful spin to it. Kids spend the holiday ‘trick or treating’ around their neighbourhoods dressed in costumes, whilst local businesses get into the holiday spirit with decorations and special celebrations.

In recent years, New Zealand has begun to adopt the Halloween holiday with great enthusiasm - much to the chagrin of traditionalists. But with more and more young families choosing to get involved in the fun, is this a trend you should be looking to get involved in? Or is it just too American for a Kiwi business?

In this article, we’ll look at arguments for and against to help you decide.

Pro - It’s an opportunity to increase your revenue

Being able to introduce a whole new celebration into your social calendar is, for marketing purposes, a very good thing. In the same way that Christmas or Easter are annual opportunities to drive in new customers, promote new products, and generally take advantage of the Christmas spending spirit.

Similarly, Halloween is a new reason to escape from the usual day-to-day business and have some fun. Create a new product to promote online, or create a special deal or campaign to run over the Halloween period in late October.

Pro - You'll attract a target demographic

Whilst the older generations don’t quite understand the attraction behind Halloween - it is, after all, an American tradition - the younger families love it. Dressing up, having fun with the kids, and a family-friendly, child-centric holiday: what’s not to love?

This is a great target demographic to be aiming for. Young people or young families with disposable incomes and a penchant for celebrating will be easy targets for Halloween-themed meals or campaigns. Use this holiday as a way to tap into this market.

Con - ‘Americanisation’ isn’t for everyone

As mentioned above, not everyone is a fan of adopting Halloween into the New Zealand calendar. It can seem, to some, to be a cheesy American holiday that doesn’t have a place in our businesses. Be mindful that choosing to celebrate Halloween can therefore isolate some of your customer base.

RSL clubs, suburban pubs, or smaller restaurants may be best to steer away from the Halloween holiday if you are used to serving a more conservative audience. Inner city cafes, chain restaurants, and casual dining experiences however could really benefit getting into the Halloween spirit!

Con - It will cost you money

Decorations, costumes, new products, advertising campaigns, online marketing - the collateral that goes alongside a new promotion isn’t something to be ignored. You will need to spend money to make money, so be sure that you have that kind of budget to be introducing a Halloween celebration.
The Halloween holiday is a fun, spooky-themed celebration that gets most into a holiday spirit. It’s a new and emerging space that attracts young crowds, and is yet another opportunity to draw some attention to your venue with fun campaigns.

However, you really decide if this is right for you as a business. You run the risk of irritating your more conservative crowds by celebrating an American holiday - so think carefully about whether it’s right for you.