Holiday season, which is the most active shopping period of the year, is just round the corner. It starts next week with Halloween.

For us, marketers, this time of the year is a perfect opportunity to humanize our brands, come up with some fun stuff and engage our audience.

And do you have any plans to succeed from Halloween promotions? If your campaign is still not on its way, have a look at the Halloween marketing ideas below.

Chances are, you’ll find a campaign idea that is a perfect match for your audience. And you’ll still have time to set it up.

In fact, the best way to approach holiday campaigns is to think something lightweight and engaging that you can leverage across many platforms easily. All you need is some inspiration.

1. Hold a contest

Halloween and contests go hand in hand: it’s the very spirit of this holiday that creates a perfect competition atmosphere and lets you never run of ideas. Photo contest for the best Halloween costume, pumpkin carving, decorations, scariest story – you choose what fits your niche best.

Marketing tips:

–          Match your contest to your audience’s interest. For example, if you’re in SEO as we are, you can run a contest for the spookiest SEO news or the spookiest Google update.

–          Make the contest entries feature your logo, your products or relate to your brand. For instance, if you’re running a photo contest, ask the participants to include your logo to their photos.

–          Choose the winner based on voting on social networks.

–          Use hashtags for better exposure.

2. Launch a game

Another great idea to resonate with Halloween mood is running a game/quest. Games are fun, and people like them. If you offer prizes, you’re likely to get more participants.

You can run some kind of Pumpkin hunt. Hide pumpkins all over your website and give hints for visitors to find them. Luckily, abundant Halloween symbols (candy, bats, pumpkins, monsters) give you lots of opportunities to make your game really unique. A pumpkin hunt can be easily transformed into saving your website from monstrous invasion, gathering candy, catching flying bats  – your fantasy is the only limit.

Marketing tips:

–          Hide pumpkins on “strategic” pages of your site to let your audience find out more about your product.

–          Make participant return to your site during the game and stay there as long as possible to let them learn more about you.

–          Share hints on moving to the next level in your game on your social networks.

–          Find partners to reach out to their client base.

–          Consider attracting sponsorship from specialty shops and themed events.

3. Have a Halloween talk with your audience

Even if you’re not planning anything wide-scale, still communicate with your audience about Halloween to humanize your brand. Ask your users about their plans for Halloween or run a fun Hallowing voting in social media (e.g. What’s your favorite horror movie?) to show you care what your folks are up to.

Marketing tip:

–          Pick the right timing. You might want to skip the Halloween day itself, when your customers are overwhelmed with all sorts of marketing offers. According to Google Trends, people are already thinking about Halloween, so you can reach out as early as a week before the Big Day.

4. Create funny/useful content

Think if you can create any fun content people will be likely to share with their friends. It might be a video on how you decorate your office for Halloween, or an infographic about best Halloween marketing campaigns of the past year.

Marketing tips:

–          Focus on branding. If you make an infographic, make sure you include a branded copyright.

–          Don’t be afraid to look funny or silly: your goal is to stand out from other Halloween content.

5. Launch Halloween special

If it’s ok with your current marketing plans, you can launch special Halloween offers. Free shipping, discounts, Halloween bundles are great ways to sell more over Halloween and attract curious site visitors.

Marketing tip:

–          Stay focused on Halloween. Themed bundles will be easier to promote on social media and across other channels.

An Ultimate Guide to Halloween Marketing 2013 is available here.  You can refer to it to find ideas and marketing tips described here in more details. Additionally, the guide features example of successful Halloween campaigns from different companies.

Got inspired and ready to launch something viral next week? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Image credit: nokee via iStockphoto