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10 Spooky Ways to Activate Your Cinema For Halloween

Halloween popcorn bag on pink and orange background

The weather is cooling, the trees are turning orange & red, and the nights are getting longer, so Halloween is right around the corner! We put together 10 spooky activations for exhibitors that will get moviegoers into your cinemas and create lasting memories & impressions!

1. Decorate: Decorate your theater lobby. Stick-up your spiderwebs, put out your pumpkins, and drape your dracula standee. Create a special photo opportunity that moviegoers will take photos with. Create a special hashtag to match your display (Ex. #FrightNight or #ScreamsAndScreens). Encourage photogs to tag your theater & to use the hashtag when posting.

2. Spooky Menu Offerings: Offer specialty cocktails and menu items to entice moviegoers to your theater restaurant or bar (ex. nightmare on bourbon street, pumpkin martini, Halloweenies, poison apple cocktail, cauldron cakes, etc.). Encourage moviegoers to grab snacks & drinks before & after the movie!

3. Trunk-or-Treat: Host a Trunk-or-Treat in your theater parking lot. (Be sure to get permits, if needed.) Families can come to your parking lot for a safe place to trick-or-treat. Make sure your theater restaurant & concession stands are open, so hungry families can grab snacks and dinner!

4. Scary Movie Marathon: Host a scary movie marathon at your theater. Screen the classics like The Amityville Horror, Psycho, The Shining, The Exorcist, Carrie, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Create a horror themed punchcard for your marathon. Moviegoers that see all the spooky titles premiering throughout the month can earn a free ticket or concession item.

5. Halloween Party: Host a Halloween Party at your theater bar, restaurant, or lobby! Create game stations for kiddos (ex. Sack-O-Lantern Bean Bag Toss, Witch Hat Ring Toss, Pin the Spider on the Web, Pumpkin Bowling, Candy Corn Guessing Game, etc.), have a theater employee (if they’re comfortable) paint faces, and have drink specials for parents!

6. Pumpkin Decorating Contest: Host a pumpkin decorating contest! Ask participants to submit their decorated pumpkins via photo. Different categories are a must: judges’ choice, audience favorite, most creative, most detailed, etc. Post the participants’ photos on social media and ask your followers to vote for their favorites by liking or commenting with the category they think is most applicable on that post! Encourage participants to post about the contest on their socials and to tag your theater! This social media partnership & participation will up your followers and social metrics.

7. Spooky Prize Pack Giveaway: Create a spooky prize pack for a social media giveaway (ex. Your theater branded halloween bags, popcorn, tickets to a new horror title, one of your specialty spooky cocktails, mini pumpkins, and concessions candy). Be sure to include the entry requirements on your post (ex. 1. Entrants must be following your theater IG account 2. Like this post! 3. Tag who you think would be most likely to survive a scary movie 4. Share to your story for an extra entry!). With participants sharing to their story, your audience & post impressions will increase. This translates to more views on your posts and more followers!

8. Candy Specials: Host a month long candy special for moviegoers. These sweet treats will entice moviegoers to stock up for their screenings. A 2021-2022 Movio study found that moviegoers are more likely to visit a theater if there are discounts (no matter the amount!). The study also found that those that don’t typically purchase concessions will take advantage of the deal!

9. Halloween Horror Movie Trivia: Host a trivia night for the most passionate scary movie lovers. Ask niche questions about classic & new horror films. Advertise your Halloween menu specials, so participants can enjoy food & drinks while playing trivia. Create a special prize for the winner!

10. Costume Contest: Encourage moviegoers to wear costumes to screenings! Hand out prizes (ex. gift card to your theater, concession voucher, etc.) for costumes that are most inventive & great movie references! Have a step-and-repeat set-up or a photo booth, so each costume can be photographed for a memento.

Begin planning your Halloween activations & events now for plenty of time for promotions & marketing. Post these events on socials to increase your impressions. Encourage followers to share these events to obtain high attendance numbers.

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Interested in our full monthly activations calendar and OC’s marketing services? Find more information here.

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