5 Spooky October Marketing Ideas to Boost Sales

As summer turns to fall, it’s time to start preparing your October marketing ideas. Here are some examples of scary and fun campaigns to spark your imagination.

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October is an important month for generating sales, with a quarter of people planning to start their holiday shopping in October. If you haven’t already, you need to create a marketing plan with your ideas for October.

Ideally, this plan will take into account all the major holidays, events, and milestones coming up not just in October, but for the rest of the year. It should form a key part of your overall holiday marketing campaign strategy and span across the channels you use to target your customers, whether that is email marketing, social media, direct marketing, or influencer marketing.

Here are some October marketing ideas to spark your inspiration. And be sure to track the success of each campaign so you can learn from these results and run even better campaigns next year.

1. Temporarily (pumpkin) spice up your brand

October is an excellent opportunity to get creative with your branding, as Halloween lends itself to attractive visuals. Add temporary Halloween branding to all your marketing materials to attract customers’ attention and show that you are a relevant company.

Add this branding to your:

  • Website
  • Social media cover and profile images
  • Email newsletters
  • Direct marketing materials, such as catalogs and flyers
A Halloween-themed email marketing campaign from Irish airline Ryanair promoting up to 20% off its flights.

Irish airline Ryanair runs Halloween-themed email marketing campaigns to promote flash sales. Source: Ryanair.

Take this email from Irish budget airline Ryanair. It added Halloween branding to its email advertising 20% off flights. It also used Halloween as an excuse to deploy another marketing tactic: setting a deadline for the sale to end (October 31st) to create a sense of urgency and make customers feel like they might miss out.

2. Run a contest

Halloween contests serve various purposes. They can help improve your digital marketing efforts by:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Helping create user-generated content
  • Boosting sales
  • Promoting specific products
  • Creating brand ambassadors

There are a ton of Halloween giveaway ideas already out there that you can draw inspiration from. For example, Mehron Makeup runs a Halloween-themed social media contest every year that encourages Instagram users to create looks with its makeup and share the results to win a cash prize and other goodies.

An Instagram post from Mehron Makeup that promotes a Halloween contest it’s running.

Mehron Makeup boosts brand awareness with its Halloween giveaway on Instagram. Source: Mehron Makeup/Instagram.

Not only is this a fun way to showcase what the products can do, but Mehron Makeup also gets access to a ton of user-generated content that it can share on its profile and that promotes the brand without the company having to do anything.

3. Hold topical and local events

There are a ton of different events happening across the world that you can celebrate through your October sale ideas and marketing content, rather than just sticking to the ones everyone knows like Halloween.

Think global (or at least where your customers are located) and get creative rather than creating the same Halloween promotions everyone else is doing. You could reach a wider and more diverse audience if you incorporate events from around the world.

Take The Day of the Dead. It’s a Mexican and Central American holiday celebrated in the beginning of November, but when I lived in Spain, it was a much more important event there than Halloween was, which shows its international impact.

As one of your fall marketing ideas, why not run events around these world traditions? Email marketing is important when it comes to getting the word out about these events and ensuring you have enough participants to make them worthwhile.

An advertisement from Latin American restaurant chain Las Iguanas promoting its Halloween and The Day of the Dead events.

Latin American restaurant chain Las Iguanas runs events to celebrate Halloween and The Day of the Dead. Source: Las Iguanas.

Latin American restaurant chain Las Iguanas not only offers two-for-one cocktails themed around both Halloween and The Day of the Dead, but it also holds parties in its restaurants. Celebrating this holiday makes sense for its brand and doesn’t feel forced.

4. Get ready for Black Friday

Black Friday is no longer just about a Friday. Firstly, it became Black Friday week, and now it starts whenever brands get their campaigns in shape. Whatever kind of business you run, whether you offer a product or service, you need to capitalize on this important shopping day.

October is a great time to start your teaser posts for Black Friday. Here are some ideas for Black Friday marketing campaigns that you can use during October:

  • Let customers know when your Black Friday deals will start (and remind them at least once more before the date).
  • Ask them to sign up to your loyalty program for early access to sale items.
  • Let them know which products will be on sale and what kind of discounts you will be offering.
  • Remind them why they should shop with you.
  • Explain how they can easily apply offers and get the best deals.
An email newsletter from Amazon explaining how its Black Friday deals work.

Amazon starts to promote its Black Friday sale in October. Source: Amazon.

This email newsletter from Black Friday–master Amazon lets customers know in advance what kind of deals they can expect, outlines the benefits of shopping with Amazon (fast, free delivery), and explains how to easily make purchases (through the app).

5. Make your marketing campaigns about more than just selling

Your marketing strategy shouldn’t just consist of email marketing content trying to sell people stuff, especially products or services they’ve shown no interest in. Your customers want relevant, useful information, and they also want to know that you care about them and the world in general.

In recent years, there has been a backlash against the increasing commercialization of the holiday season. Given how 2020 panned out, this is only likely to increase.

Instead of just creating marketing campaigns around Halloween flash sales and Black Friday discounts, think about what you can do for a cause you care about. When you write a marketing email, make sure that the content is authentic and aligns with your values, as you don’t want to be seen as jumping on the bandwagon.

An email marketing newsletter from Everlane explaining it donates its Black Friday profits to charity.

Everlane focuses on giving back to the community rather than always selling its own products. Source: Everlane.

Instead of offering discounts on its products for Black Friday, clothing company Everlane donates the profits of its sales to the causes the company cares about. As Everlane is a sustainable and ethical clothing company, it chooses causes that align with its values. In this case, it’s the Surfrider Foundation, an environmental organization that works to protect and preserve the world's oceans, waves, and beaches.

Use your own workplace in marketing campaigns

Your October and Halloween advertising ideas can also work as recruitment marketing campaigns. Create content that shows what your company gets up to around holidays and world events such as Halloween and The Day of the Dead (dressing up, contests, etc.) and you’ll make your workplace seem much more attractive to potential candidates.

Tie all of this together with the right email marketing software for your business, and you can ensure your October marketing ideas will be on point every year.

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Facebook and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.