Halloween Proves Contests Can Increase Brand Awareness


Halloween kicks off the Fall holiday season, and social media is already buzzing with costume trends, recipe ideas, and pumpkin carving tips. Americans are expected to spend nearly $3 billion in costumes, and over $300 million on pet costumes! We saw Petco take advantage of this trend last year, showing us that audiences love contests! Using Petco as an example, here are reasons why you should consider running a contest to engage your audience.

Learn from a Success Story

Petco’s “Make a Scene” Halloween Photo contest last year encouraged fans to share a photo of their pet dressed up for Halloween with an accompanying scene. The contest was held on Facebook, and submissions were accepted from October 1-October 30. The winner received a $25,000 cash prize and Petco gift cards were also up for grabs. The contest inspired creativity at home, and of course, the prize wasn’t too shabby either. By holding the contest, Petco hopefully increased their sales of pet costumes and increased online engagement with their brand 325% during the month.

Petco took the contest a step further and hosted a “Most Bootiful of All Pet Costume Party” in local stores the weekend before Halloween with different winners and prizes. The in-store event encouraged their newly formed community to come together in person for fun games and prizes. After the event, Petco posted some of the local winners to the Petco Facebook page.

Host Your Contest on Pinterest

We took a look at our data over the last 30 days to see where halloween costumes have been shared the most. Pinterest made up 43% of shared content, which is huge for a social service that typically makes up less than 5% of sharing on our network. The audience is engaged on this network already, so create a contest on Pinterest to get entrants from existing and new fans of your brand.

When planning your Pinterest contest, be practical in your implementation and make sure you’re following Pinterest’s terms of service and contest rules. Pick a short time range, plan how you’ll promote it, and measure results. Cross-promote the contest on Facebook and Twitter, and keep the goal of the contest in mind when measuring the effect of the campaign. For example, if the goal of your contest is brand engagement, make sure you’re measuring campaign reach.


Keep True to Your Brand’s Identity

Petco’s pet costume contest capitalized on a multi-million dollar industry, but a pet contest won’t work for every brand. Halloween may still be something that fits well within your website’s identity.

If you’re a craft store owner, consider launching a DIY costume contest where entrants make the outfit from your store supplies. Are you a pop culture publisher? Create a contest around events and occurrences from the last year, encouraging entrants to have imaginative spins on things like the Ice Bucket Challenge. If your main audience are parents, come up with a contest that forces them outside of the Frozen costumes we’re bound to see plenty of this Halloween.

Get your social community engaged in your contest by allowing votes to determine the winner. Large prizes might not be on the table for your brand, but consider awarding gift cards or samples of your new products to the top three entrants.

Are you planning on hosting a contest for your community this fall?