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A view of the industry through the eyes of independent and chain retailers.

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Are You Ready for Record Halloween Sales?

Thirteen ways to make it happen.

by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender (October 4, 2010)

Have you seen the movie, Joe's Apartment? It’s about a guy named Joe who moves to New York City from his

Halloween is the second biggest retail holiday; will you get your piece of this important holiday sales pie? According to NRF’s 2010 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, there’s plenty of opportunity: 148 million Americans will partake in some sort of celebration; 40.1% – that's 4 out of 10 people – plan to dress up (the highest percentage in the NRF's survey’s history!); and 11.5% of shoppers say they'll dress up their pets. Great news for retailers!

(Note: Read the NRF 2010 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey HERE.)

By now your sales floor should be set to full-on Halloween. Just in case there's still room on your events and promotions calendar, here are 13 spooky ideas to help you get started:

1. Halloween Party Open House. Hold the event in early October and provide demonstrations of how to make party invitations, decorations, and more. Customers who wear a costume get a discount on purchases.

2. Bob for Discounts. Set up a traditional apple bobbing station, but attach different colored ribbons to apple stems. Each color represents a different discount.

3. Trick-or-Treat Street. Parents are looking for alternatives to traditional trick-or-treating. Provide a safe environment by partnering with the other stores in your area with games, crafts, and, of course, candy.

4. Scarecrow Contest. Get your staff in the holiday mood by having each department create a scarecrow with just items from their section of the store. Set them out for customer judging.

5. Pumpkin Decorating Contest. Give away a limited number of pumpkins in the week leading up to Halloween. (You can set a requirement for receiving a free pumpkin. Buy a class, get a pumpkin. Any purchase over $25 gets a free pumpkin, etc.) Set a deadline for customers to return their creations, and let other customers vote for their favorites.

6. Bag Decorating Contest. Invite customers to make a creative trick-or-treat bag.

7. Guessing Jar. Place plastic spiders, eyeball marbles, or other creepy items in a jar. Let customers guess how many are inside.

8. Halloween Safety Seminar. Check with your local police department for trick-or-treating rules and safety tips, and then hold a free seminar in your store. Be sure to talk about all your glow-in-the-dark products that can add to costume safety.

9. Costume Contest. Hold a costume contest, but get creative with it. Categories for judging could include Best Costume on a Pet (or incorporating a pet); Best Homemade Costume; Best Use of Beads, Sequins, and other Sparkles; Best Use of....

10. Mask Seminar. Invite a make-up artist to show how to make a creative mask with face paints – an option that is safer than plastic masks. Make it like a Mary Kay party – everyone gets their own mirror and make-up tray.

11. Adults-only Costume-making Open House. Halloween is enjoyed by adults just as much as kids. Host an event to show off a variety of costumes they can make with items from your store.

12. Pre-Halloween Crop. Help your scrapbooking customers get their pages all set up for those costume photos by creating their pages in advance. Or invite customers to come in to have their costume photos taken in your store; then they return later to pick up the pics and crop them.

13. Take advantage of Twilight and Harry Potter mania. Host Twilight and/or Harry Potter events in your store. Both of these series are big with fans of all ages. Click to learn more about Twilight here: http://thetwilightsaga.com.

Click to learn more about Harry Potter click HERE

Need even more ideas? Give us a call!

(Note: Rich and Georganne will be speaking at the iHobby Expo Oct. 21 Visit www.ihobbyexpo.com which has a video on the on the front page. They will also speak at the Quilt Market this month. ("Re-Imagine, Re-Create and Re-Invent Your Retail Store" Fri., Oct. 29, 11:50 am -12:20 pm, and "Are Your Promotions Causing Commotions?" Fri., Oct. 29, 12:25 pm - 12:55 pm. Both are in Rm. 381 A&B.). The sessions are sponsored by American Quilt Retailer. Their complimentary consulting sessions are already filled. Visit www.quilts.com.

Meetings & Conventions magazine took a survey of meeting planners asking them to name their favorite speakers/keynote presenters – and Kizer & Bender make the list, along with such luminaries as Dr. Stephen R. Covey, Mike Ditka, Bill Gates, Rudy Giuliani, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jay Leno, Colin Powell, and others. To read previous columns, click on the titles in the right-hand column.)

KIZER & BENDER Speaking! 

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