Planning for Halloween

 
Boo! Halloween is just around the corner, and in the days and weeks leading up to October 31, approximately 33 million people will go to a haunted house, some 54 million people will attend a Halloween party, and more than 160 million people will celebrate the holiday in some way, according to data from the National Retail Federation.
 
These are huge numbers with big implications for your bakery business. But with these tips and ideas, that doesn’t have to be a spooky thought. (Pun intended.) 

 

Preparation

 

As the saying goes, “Prior preparation prevents poor performance.” And Chris Wyatt, co-owner of Amaru Confections in Boise, Idaho, knows this to be true regarding the Halloween holiday.

“Our bakery starts promoting the Halloween season in early September,” Wyatt said. “We see that customers start ordering Halloween-themed treats around October 1st, and momentum builds until the week of Halloween when it's a flurry of activity around here until the day of. That ends abruptly on November 1st.”
 
So what should you be preparing during that time? It seems to be a mix between the traditional and outlandish.
 
“We tend to see our most popular products are our cakes and cupcakes,” Wyatt said. “We get some of the funkiest, weirdest, and coolest requests around Halloween, and it really pushes the decorators to come up with fun and inventive ways to make them. We've done tiered and carved pumpkin cakes, zombie heads, and graveyard themes that are never requested at any other time of the year. We also always try to add at least two or three new menu items each year to branch out and see what takes and what doesn't.”
 

Sale Ideas

 

It’s no secret that consumers like sales, and Halloween opens the door for a lot of fun ones. Consider offering day-of or three-day deals to encourage visits during the busy Halloween weekend. Here are some ideas to spark your creativity.

Halloween BOO-GO sale! Buy one coffee or pastry and get the second free. Our treat – no costume required.
 
Announcing a scary sale! Come by Halloween weekend for spooktacular savings of up to 50 percent off the entire store.
 
Trick or Treat? Stop by the store this weekend, and we’ll give you one. Which will it be?
 
The more the scarier! Buy one treat on Halloween, and get one free for a friend.
 

Gimmicks and Giveaways

 

Gimmicks and giveaways are also great promotional tools. Here are some ideas:

A treat a day. To keep customers coming back repeatedly, unveil a new Halloween-themed treat every day during the week leading up to the holiday.
 
Ticket giveaways. Look for your local ghost tour, haunted house, or corn maze, and buy several tickets. (PRO TIP: Most places will offer a bulk-order discount.) Then offer a pair of them to anyone who makes a purchase in your bakery of more than a certain dollar amount. Customers will be encouraged to spend more to reach that threshold, which will increase your overall sales numbers and easily offset the amount you initially paid for the tickets.
 
Encourage costumes. On the actual day of Halloween, give children who come into your store in costumes a free small treat, and offer adults in costume a free coffee or cider. This will inspire them to hang around a little long and peruse your products while they enjoy their free gift. 
 
This is a great way to clear your shop of all Halloween-themed treats since you won’t want any leftover on November 1st.