Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: October 2010

September 24, 2010
By Diane ChIasson

Follow these six great tips for scaring up Halloween business and have some fun with one of the year’s biggest days for treats.

Follow these six great tips for scaring up Halloween business and have some fun with one of the year’s biggest days for treats.

Consider having a pumpkin-carving contest as a way to get customers interactive with you and your bakery.


Halloween is coming up soon, so it’s time to step up your marketing and promotions to scare some extra business into your bakery. Halloween is a special time for food. It’s not just about the candy gathered from door to door. The holiday’s essence is very artistic and a wonderful time to showcase your talents. See how spooky you can make your bakery and get into the Halloween spirit to help make your sales soar. If you're looking for inspiration, try researching the customs of different countries and cultures.


Here are six other great ideas to boost your sales this Halloween.

1. Create spooky and fun displays
Halloween is a big holiday and people love falling prey to all the gimmicks they can get. To draw in extra customers – especially kids – turn your bakery into a haunted house. Visit your local Halloween store and purchase inexpensive decorations, or invest in more high-end, mechanical decorations that you can use year after year. Kids will be begging their parents to visit your operation over and over again. Remember, the creepier your store, the better your chances of keeping your young customers returning and boosting sales.

2. Invite customers to carve pumpkins
If spending hundreds of dollars on decorations isn’t in your budget this year, consider carving a bunch of pumpkins to display all over the store. If you don’t enjoy carving pumpkins, or are not very artistic, hold a pumpkin-carving contest. Have customers come in to carve a pumpkin to receive a free pumpkin cookie or cupcake. Award the winning pumpkin carver a loaf of pumpkin bread or other pumpkin-
related dessert. You can even create a pumpkin gallery to attract interest from passersby and your regular customers.

3. Dress up in costumes, hold a parade
Get into the spirit of the holidays and have your staff dress up in costumes for work. Hold a costume parade a few days before Halloween. Invite all the kids in your neighbourhood to come in the Saturday or Sunday before Halloween, and march them around the block while holding some signs advertising your bakery and daily specials. Give the kids a small treat and a bag of candy for participating. Take photos and post them in your store. A parade also gives children another opportunity to wear their costumes. Parents will appreciate seeing the costumes getting an extra day of use after spending a small fortune on them.

4. Hold a promo for Halloween night
Halloween is a big night for take-out and/or pizza operators, as most families are holding parties or busy getting their children ready for trick-or-treating. Consider working together with your local pizza operator or other restaurant to create a Halloween night package, where they supply pizza and you supply the cake. Split the cost of a direct mail campaign to advertise your special offer.

5. Create Halloween-themed treats
Use your imagination to create a line of Halloween-themed breads, pastries, cookies, cakes and other desserts. Think of items that will appeal to children, as children are Halloween’s largest and most enthusiastic market base. Hold special promotions for customers, for example, after spending a certain amount in your bakery, they will receive  a free Halloween cookie or treat. 

6. Get your staff into the Halloween spirit
People love holidays because they are fun. In order to create the right ambience and atmosphere in your establishment, all of your staff must be involved. Get your staff to dress up, crank up the music and boost enthusiasm all around. If your staff is having a good time, it will rub off on your customers. And if your customers are having a good time, they will more than likely come back for more.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 years. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or, or visit .

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