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Halloween 2020 was set to be a trick-or-treating dream come true for kids and parents alike:
Unfortunately, health concerns caused many towns and counties to call off traditional events from haunted houses and corn mazes to cancelling trick-or-treating and high-attendance costume parties, making Halloween feel more like a trick this year than
Here are a few Trick-or-Treat alternative events your FEC can provide to keep young ones in the Halloween spirit. Let these event ideas help you come up with exciting alternatives that will allow families to receive as close to a traditional Halloween experience as possible, while also keeping things safe for all participants.
Many schools across the U.S. and the rest of the world took to alternative forms and avenues of learning due to potential health risks. As a result, a large majority of those schools are eliminating the on-campus tradition of having a Halloween parade where kids can show off their costumes to all their parents and friends.
Why not invite your local school(s) to continue the tradition and host the parade at your facility this year?!
Having it outside is best, but you can also have it indoors with
a distanced audience onlooking if the weather turns out uncooperative. If you have a facility mascot, have them dress up and lead the pack! At the starting line, have each decorated participant join in on a game before they flaunt their costume.
A “guess how many items in a jar” contest with Halloween-themed candy, witches fingers, or plastic spider rings is a fun way to start
off this trick-or-treat alternative event!
Offer prizes from your redemption center for the winner of the number guessing contests, or free day passes to your facility.
If having an in-person walking parade isn’t possible, host a drive-by costume parade where cars drive by your facility with their windows down, showing off their costumes to your entire staff and any community members who want to come by to cheer kids on. We’ve come to know the drive-by happy birthday parade in
2020—expand on it!
Host a Trick-or-Treat alternative event called “TRUNK-or-Treat” in your family entertainment center’s parking lot!
Invite your customer base to decorate the trunk of their cars and have them park in front of your facility, displaying their creative handy-work for all to see. To encourage participation, consider introducing a little friendly competition when it comes to the trunk decorating by making the decorating activity a contest! Offer prizes for the best decorated, most on-theme to your FEC’s brand, funniest, or scariest trunk. Decide ahead of time whether you’re going to choose the winners yourself/with your staff, or open it up to a community vote.
The goal is to have kids be able to grab candy from the backs of open, decorated cars that are outside, so everyone is able to maintain a greater amount of social distance while doing so. Encourage or require participants to provide pre-packaged treats. Costumed children will still have the experience of walking
door-to-door (trunk-to-trunk!) while allotting a safe time span between each interaction with different families.
Make sure you have a large parking lot that allows for distance between parked “trunks” to control a potential crowd buildup if you’re thinking of running this kind of trick-or-treat alternative. You also want to encourage the owners of each car to keep physical contact with the display to a minimum and be ready to wipe down surfaces in between visitors if they accidentally are touched.
You can also generate revenue with these kinds of trick-or-treat alternative events! Sell admission tickets for the event using your online store. Advertise as a “Monster Bash Ticket Sale!” With
pre-ticked sales, you’ll have a better idea of your attendance, allowing you to efficiently prepare and have the correct amount of goodies for all guests.
To make the event even more seamless, use your online booking module as a way for people to reserve a parking spot for their car/decorated vehicle trunk! You can make it a free-to-enter event, or, if your facility management software has their own payment-processing system, you can safely render payment for their reservation online at any time. You can also offer candy for purchase in your online store for entrants to pass out as kids visit their decorated trunk.
Remember, any outdoor events or a (shared) parking lot experience might need to be granted permission by other vendors that share the space. The most imperative thing you need to focus on is safety in an environment where children are walking around in costumes. It can be hard to see them, so keep areas for the spook-tacular event clearly marked.
One of the best avenues we have to connect with people during a time of physical distancing is through the internet!
Another great trick-or-treat alternative event this Halloween season is to have the followers on your social media channels participate in a virtual pumpkin-decorating competition! Encourage all types of contributions from embellished and painted pumpkins to carved jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin head scarecrows. How fun will it be to see the ideas people come up with?! (Don’t forget to remind parents to assist young ones with sharp tools used to carve. 😊 )
Have participants send an image of their creation(s) by a certain date. That way, you can create a post/thread with every entry, where your other followers and staff are able to vote on their favorite work of art! Winners can be awarded prizes like free passes for admission, birthday party discounts, and goody bags with local delicacies. Remember, it's always great to shop small. When you support your local community, they’re more likely and willing to want to support your business in return!
Posting the pictures of the pumpkins on your social media page using relevant hashtags is also a great way to effectively market your family entertainment center as well. Impressive pumpkin art can be “eye-candy” for your followers to share on their own pages, driving more viewers to your page, and hopefully your website, increasing your chances for more party bookings and future customers.
Halloween doesn’t have to just be catered towards only children, either! This event as an alternative to trick-or-treating is a fantastic one for involving adults as well. You may decide to have two pumpkin-decorating contests, one for young kids and one for adults to make the competition more fair.
Reveal the contest winner(s) during a “Wicked Happy Hour” to market to the parents as well. Go Live on Facebook or create a video conference event link where anyone can join in with a beverage and find out who the winners are. Make sure to have written proof of the winners posted on your social media accounts and website as well for anyone who may not be able to make it.
Create awareness for your facility by posting live-instruction videos throughout the fall, especially in the month of October. Share the details of this on-going project as an alternative to trick-or-treating on your social media pages prior to broadcasting them all, so your audience will know what to expect and when.
For each video, you’ll need to let viewers know what supplies they’ll need to complete the activity and an example of the finished product. It’s a good idea to pre-record these videos so they can be viewed on-demand and used again for years to come.
Create multiple tutorials on a predictable cadence, such as making spooky ghost face masks, cutouts of bats, or designing your own spooky t-shirts. Keep in mind, however—make it fit your followers and customer base. We don’t want to scare them off! A tutorial for how to make a prince or princess crown is just as fun and effective!
Even the Pumpkin Contest would build excitement with a quick video example of “no-carve” decorating! Encourage creativity with D.I.Y. lessons on costume creation for children or pets. You can utilize Facebook Live or video conference platforms like Zoom for these tutorials.
Trick-or-Treat alternative events can be a great way to keep the spooky spirit of Halloween alive, while promoting your FEC and potentially creating additional revenue streams for it at the same time. Show your customers you care about them and want to ease their struggles and stress by getting involved with special occasions that may unexpectedly not be able to occur as planned.
Help them recognize you are the perfect “All Hallows Eve” hang-out spot. With the constant buzz of Trick-or-Treating in many U.S. states being cancelled, you can advertise these four trick-or-treat alternative events to embrace the Halloween state-of-mind and provide a happy, memorable guest experience for your community. Who knows, this could be the start of your own spooky traditions that are held at your FEC every year!
If you’re looking for more event ideas for your family entertainment center to host throughout the year, download your copy of our complimentary Monthly Events Calendar: A Year-Round,
"Fun-At-A-Glance" Resource for Event Opportunities at