Halloween is a fun occasion enjoyed by people of all ages all over the world. We might not celebrate it on the same scale as the US, but its popularity has been growing steadily and there’s an opportunity there for restaurants looking to spice things up a bit.

Even a small amount of effort can go a long way toward creating a fun and memorable experience for your patrons. And because restaurants tend to overlook Halloween in favour of the headline events on the calendar, it means you have an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Here are some ways to do a Halloween theme at your restaurant.

Do some decorating

If you want to get completely carried away decorating your restaurant, that’s entirely up to you. But with decorations visible in your windows, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to draw customers in. Just bear in mind that a little will go a long way – it doesn’t need to look like a movie set.

Consider some spooky things to put on tables, like jack-o’-lanterns (the small plastic ones) or tombstones which you can even make yourself from cardboard. Fake cobwebs are inexpensive and create an alluringly “haunted” feel strung from windows, chandeliers and fittings. And by lighting candles and dimming the lights a bit lower than usual, you can create a delightfully spooky atmosphere.

Create a Halloween menu

Creating a whole fresh menu for a Halloween theme would be a lot of work, so consider adding one or two special items or simply renaming your specials to add a bit of ghoulish flare. You could call your soup “The Witches Brew”, for example.

In the northern hemisphere, Halloween is synonymous with pumpkins, but here they’re out of season for Halloween. That just means a little more creativity and inventiveness is needed. Consider something like pizzas cut into the shapes of ghosts for the kids’ menu, or garnish plates with some frightening frills like eye-ball eggs or spider crackers.

Halloween-themed cocktails are another great option that doesn’t require too much effort or expense if you work with your existing inventory. Try offering cocktails with appropriate colours like red, green and purple, and renaming them with Halloween puns.

Host a dress-up night

There are different ways to go about hosting a fancy-dress evening in your restaurant and you should decide what would work best with your clientele. Getting customers to partake will require some marketing ahead of the event and ideally a prize for best-dressed to motivate them. But the end result is sure to be an entertaining evening and a memorable experience for young and old alike. 

For a more elaborate theme, you could even go the route of a murder mystery evening full of “who-done-it” intrigue. It’s the sort of out-of-the-ordinary entertainment that will drive word of mouth and bring loyal customers back year after year if you make a success of it.

Take it to social media

Whatever you decide to do and however you choose to do it, be sure to document it with photos and videos and share them on your social media. You can extend the reach of your efforts this way and even earn those coveted shares, retweets and follows.

Halloween presents a good opportunity for restaurant owners to lift people’s spirits with a bit of light-hearted fun. But one more piece of advice: don’t make it too scary for the kids, and dial back the gore factor (you don’t want to cause alarm with fake severed fingers and the like).

Interested in more restaurant tips to unlock the potential of your establishment? We recommend focusing on these five key ingredients.