The spooky season is upon us! What that means for your restaurant for Halloween is up to you. Many restaurant operators choose not to celebrate this holiday in any way, while others go all out for the creepy holiday with decorations, costumes, and special menu items.
Of course, it is wise to avoid things that are too bloody and gory. You don’t want your customers to lose their appetite. The good news is that there is plenty of non-offensive Halloween imagery to choose from black cats to jack-o-lanterns.
Going all out for Halloween is one way to market your restaurant, especially if you combine your new eerie setting with special events like costume contests, DJs, or seasonal desserts that will have your customers saying “trick or treat.”
Be sure to share your fantastical Halloween decor on social media to make your establishment an irresistible place to visit during the month of October.
Here’s how to decorate your restaurant for Halloween:
1. Go for Gourds
Create centerpieces for your tables with an assortment of mini-pumpkins and seasonal gourds to create an instant Halloween vibe. Place larger pumpkins throughout your establishment and outside as well if you have space.
2. Carve Some Pumpkins
Show your true dedication to the season by carving some jack-o-lanterns. Having a pumpkin carving party can be a fun team-building exercise for your staff. Just be careful that no one gets injured while carving, as those blades are sharp. Place tea lights inside of your jack-o-lanterns to illuminate them at night.
3. Cool It With Dry Ice
Nothing brings mad science to mind like copious amounts of dry ice. Dry ice generates a thick fog that spills out from whatever cooler or container you put it in. Chill some beer or wine in dry ice to set the scene.
4. Cover it in Cobwebs
Cobwebs are a go-to Halloween decoration that is cheap and effective. Keep in mind, however, that it does make a mess. You will need to make sure to clean it all up when Halloween is over… unless you want customers to think you have a real-life spider problem.
5. Make No Bones About It
If you really want to make a splash, get a full-sized model skeleton and pose it on an empty seat at your bar. Every customer will want a picture with Mr. Bones, increasing your visibility on social media. Mix it up and take your own photos of the skeleton in various locations of your restaurant.
6. Vintage Haul
Decorating for Halloween doesn’t have to be a major expense. Some of the best decorations can be found at steeply discounted prices at your local thrift store establishment. Go all out and get an assortment of funky Halloween pieces from days gone by for an eclectic mix of new and vintage decor.
7. Table Cloths
Get into the spirit of Halloween by switching to black and orange tablecloths. Tablecloths allow you to quickly change the look of your restaurant.
8. Window Displays
Nothing draws in customers like a great window display. If your restaurant has one, this is a great place to set a unique Halloween scene that draws in customers.
9. Food and Drink
While not quite decor, Halloween-themed cocktails and menu items go hand in hand with the festive atmosphere you have created. The possibilities are only limited to your imagination, but things like pumpkin pie and Bloody Marys are real crowd-pleasers this time of year. Or you can add a punny name to any classic dish like “Beef Killington” or “Shrimp Fra Diablo.”
Decorating for Halloween isn’t just about the dining room. Small touches to your bathroom decor can really impress patrons. Hang classic scary movie posters like Frankenstein or Dracula, or any other artwork that goes with the theme. You could also add some antique jars and vials, perhaps some filled with animal specimens, to a floating shelf or counter.
Add Halloween flavor to your lighting with some orange-colored string lights behind your bar or out on your deck. You can also put out a plastic jack-o-lantern with a battery-powered light to create an impromptu Halloween lamp.
12. Group Costume
The week leading up to Halloween is peak costume time, and as part of the scenery you and your staff can get in on the action. Make a big impact with a group costume, where your servers, bartenders and cooks all participate together. Perhaps everyone dresses up as a different comic book character, or all different characters played by Bill Murray.
13. Costume Contest
Celebrate the season with a costume contest where your most loyal patrons can turn out and enjoy your Halloween decor together. Give out prizes and food to the contest winners. Costume contests are a time-honored tradition and if promoted well, they can generate a lot of business for your restaurant or bar.