Halloween Promotion Ideas

| September 30, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant


cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI – The only holiday Americans spend more on is Christmas.

Here comes October, which begins on the heels of another mass shooting, and with yet-another episode of the partisan Washington brinksmanship that has cost Congress in public approval polls, and threatens to relegate talk radio to a wearying caricature.

Meanwhile, the listeners that local retailers want most to see pull into the parking lot are buying pumpkins and candy and wondering who/what to dress up as.  So Halloween affords radio an opportunity to be about what people are up to.

Call-in topic, sooner-than-later: Halloween costume ideas.

Thank me later for this one.  At the moment, we’re between Harry Potter-size, movie-inspired costume characters.

And not only are frugal, harried parents imagination challenged.  They themselves are invited to parties.  So late-night talkers might play this differently than during the day when kiddos are listening in the minivan.  ;)

Played properly, this topic WILL buzz. 

This has Internet written-all-over-it. 

As in the revenue now commonly referred to as “digital” when corporate barks for more, more, more.

Many listeners have digital photos of past years’ costumes.  Consider a (sponsored) gallery on the station’s web site, using Picassa, a Google app, or some other web freebie.

Possibly an online contest rewarding prizes (from advertisers) for Best Costumes listeners came up with last year?  This year’s imagination-challenged listeners will appreciate ideas.

Then, on Halloween, regardless of format, play “Monster Mash.”

THE WHOLE THING, not just a bumper that teases listeners.


  1. Uh, it’s Halloween.
  2. Talk stations shouldn’t be allergic to fun.  For you, the living, this mash was meant, too.
  3. Many of today’s talk AMs played the Bobby “Boris” Pickett classic as a current when they were Top 40 stations in days of yesteryear – when it caught on in a flash — and before teenage P1s grew up to be today’s Baby Boomers.  Check your station’s median age.
  4. Listeners will HEAR you, during the critical Fall survey period.  Never forget: Arbitron’s diary-based methodology doesn’t measure what people listen to, it measures what they remember.  You’re in a PPM market?  Hey, awareness drives use, and this will attract attention alrighty.

So play it without warning.  No set-up.  Roll it cold out of the newscast…or let it seem to interrupt the show at another time.  Your listeners will be humming it all day, remembering you.  You’ll be a graveyard smash.


Follow HC @HollandCooke on Twitter and at www.HollandCooke.com.  And meet him October 10 at Talkers/LA, where he will present “New Local Talk Radio Jobs in 2014: Why, Where, How to Prepare.”

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Category: Advice