If you have to market a family event that lands on Halloween or any other holiday, then you know there are many challenges. On Halloween it is hard to compete against kids and their candy. Over the years I have had this challenge twice. The decision that you have to make is to lay down and forfeit or embrace the holiday and make it work for you.
My first experience with promoting a show on Halloween was with Disney On Ice in St. Louis. Opening day of the show fell on Halloween. At that time Halloween was a BIG deal in St. Louis. This presented an issue. The general feeling was that opening night was going to be a big flop. Even our opening night sponsor said they did not want to sponsor the show on Halloween. The show was going to be set up and the cast in town. We could have taken the night off but we didn’t. Being the huge Halloween fan that I am, we created the “World’s Largest Halloween Party” for less fortunate kids. All St. Louis area children’s charities were invited to bring kids to the show. I went to all our media partners including the newspaper and TV and asked them to partner with us as a public service which they all did. We gave away 10,000 tickets for that night to kids that would normally never be able to see Disney On Ice. We had trick or treat bags full of candy for each kid, costume contests, and even bobbing for apples on the concourse. The publicity was great. We were the top Halloween story for the day. The end result was that even with giving away an entire performance to charity, we had a very successful engagement. Once less performance from the year before and we were still up!
The next clash I had with Halloween was with Goosebumps Live in Detroit. Now you might think that promoting a Goosebumps show on Halloween would be a good thing, but not in Detroit. As you may know Detroit has a bad reputation for setting fires on Halloween. The year we did the show in Detroit they were still pretty much banning Halloween and all Halloween events. They told residents to keep their children home. Not good for us. Detroit marketing guru Bill Lee from Olympia Entertainment and myself brainstormed. We agreed that we needed the City on our side. We went to them and offered to an inner city charity event. We also offered to supply the city with free Goosebumps books that they could distribute. We were the only Halloween event and we were indorsed by the city. We even had city officials open the show. The end result was, we had one of the most successful engagements of the whole tour.
I hope everyone has a very fun Halloween!