Halloween PR Tips for Coffee Shops and Ice Cream Shops

Halloween is an exciting time to pitch your small business, particularly if you’re a coffee shop or ice cream shop.

Between fall flavors like pumpkin and candy corn, costumed kids and trick-or-treats, you have a veritable trove of themes to help you whip up some sweet-tasting publicity.

Here are 10 fun, irreverent, even Un-Dead, suggestions for coffee shops and ice cream shops to scare up some publicity in the local news:

  1. Costume contest: everybody loves a costume contest. Hold it over a week, have kids come in to have their picture taken, then have a panel of teachers or the local police decide a winner. Offer to give away free drinks or ice creams to the winner for a year and you’ll get every mummy, witch and zombie in town to turn up.
  2. Flavor contest: invite the public to submit flavors for ice cream or coffee drinks and pick a winner. Then offer to donate half of the proceeds of sales of the drink to a charity of the winner’s choice.
  3. Smell my feet: invent a recipe that jokes about the “smell my feet” reference in the trick-or-treat chant and come up with a gross (but irresistibly sweet) combination that might remind somebody of gross, smelly feet!
  4. Partner with a dentist: Halloween is notorious for kids gorging themselves on sweets. Why not have an event featuring your shop and a local dentist at schools to talk about how to enjoy sweets and still practice good dental hygiene?
  5. Haunted house: turn your shop into a combination ice cream or coffee shop and haunted house. Feature drinks and concoctions that positively ooze with blood, gore and body parts. Yikes!
  6.  Walking Dead Menu: celebrate Halloween and the upcoming 4th season of The Walking Dead with a menu dedicated to the AMC cult classic.
  7. Pumpkin carving contest: reach out to local artists to have them carve the wildest pumpkins they can imagine on a Saturday, invite the public to vote for the favorite, and award the winner with a nice in-store coupon worth lots of free eats and drinks.
  8. Trick of Treat, Officer: ask your local police station if you can come and bring lots of trick or treats to help police deal with what is usually a busy night keeping kids safe on the streets. Coffee, coffee-flavored ice cream – it’s all good for our first responders in Blue.
  9. Kids at heart: our senior citizens sometimes get left out at Halloween. Organize a group that offers your sweetest products at several retirement centers in your community so our “older kids” get a chance for a few laughs.
  10. Candy monster contest: have kids in your community create a scary candy monster from Halloween candy and award the winner with prize like a free party for 10 friends at your shop with all-you-can-eat treats.

Whatever your idea, it’s best to get started soon. You may need to organize the event fast, contact volunteers, and arrange for supplies.

While you do that, you should reach out to your local news media to let them know about your event. Target morning TV news shows the week leading up to the event as they often like soft news stories about children and clever plays on the sometimes tired Halloween story ideas. You can also reach out to newspapers that may be looking for a list of different activities and treats to share with their readers.

The key is to make it fun, and have fun. You may get some great publicity for your “trick or treat” this Halloween!

About Dave Manzer: In 2009, Dave Manzer founded his own PR firm, Dave Manzer PR and Marketing, to help small businesses become recognizable brands through creative PR campaigns. He also launched PR over Coffee to provide small business PR advice so that entrepreneurs and startups could practice “DIY” PR and promote themselves to a wider audience. Dave’s innovative MyLocalReporter app allows small businesses to find and pitch national and local reporters in up to 12 cities in Texas, California and Florida. To book Dave as a speaker or pick his brain for the next big PR stunt, feel free to email him at: info(@)PRoverCoffee.com.

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