A well-established phenomenon in the US, Halloween has grown to become one of the primary seasonal events for UK retailers too.

Last year, Britons splashed out an estimated £310 million ($400 million) on sweets, decorations and other related items – a 5% increase over 2015. Three in five Halloween purchasers enjoy taking part in the event; a figure that’s even higher for younger demographics. In fact, more than half of millennial consumers spent money on Halloween last year and 71% are self-proclaimed fans of the day.

While Halloween is popular with consumers, it can be a far scarier endeavour for advertisers. The day revolves primarily around costumes, sweets and decorations, so it’s important to think about how your business objectives can be tied to the holiday seamlessly. Even if your brand isn’t specialised in providing Halloween-related goods and services, you can still join in on the fun with tangential but engaging ad content.  

Here are a few ways that advertisers – whether they’re selling pumpkins, chocolate or none of the above – can harness the Halloween spirit:

Reach customers on social media…

… but remember to start early. Halloween fans often turn to social media to plan their costumes and festivities. Ahead of last year’s event, 27 million Pinterest users had gathered outfit inspiration on the platform and 40% said that they had started their planning several months in advance. Studies also showed major Halloween chatter starting on Facebook and Instagram as early as September.

You’re wise to kick off social ad campaigns early, to get a head start on competitors that will drive up auction-based prices. While you might have to bid aggressively in order to get a piece of the (pumpkin) pie, you’re reaching users while they are most receptive to offers and ideas for costumes, decorations, and Halloween products.  

Join the conversation

Tap into live conversations about Halloween on Twitter and capitalise on the buzz. The platform’s conversation and keyword targeting allow you to specifically tailor messaging to what users are tweeting about. More than half of last year’s online Halloween conversations took place on the platform and not too surprisingly, #trickortreat, #witch, and #ghost were among the most commonly-used hashtags.

Snapchat, another ‘in-the-moment’ platform, is a great bet for joining in on the fun as Halloween unfolds. This is a day dominated by festivities and scary costumes, so what better way to connect with users than through spooky lenses or geofilters? This is also where a lot of Halloween fans will go to share snapshots from parties and other festivities, so fun and engaging Snap Ads between users’ Stories sit naturally within the native look and feel of the platform.

Make people buy

Driving awareness of your brand is an ongoing, always-on process, but around seasonal events like Halloween, it’s particularly important to drive consumers down the bottom end of the funnel. Carousel Ads on Facebook and Instagram are great for showcasing several products or offers at once, ultimately enticing customers to purchase. Or try Facebook’s new Collections format, which increases the likelihood of both discovery and conversion by combining a video, slideshow, or image with product images taken from your brand’s product catalogue.

While lower funnel activity is great for driving Halloween sales, it’s vital to make sure that your website or app is ready to back things up. Nothing makes users abandon an online shopping cart faster than a poor check-out process – that’s why it’s vital to create a seamless experience. Mobile commerce accounted for one quarter of total UK e-commerce sales in 2016, so make sure to keep this in mind when designing both ad content and websites.

Paid social is an important part of all integrated media strategies that are informed and optimised by data. As long as you keep your ultimate brand objective in mind, planning advertising around Halloween doesn’t have to be a scary process at all.