So good it’s spooky: 15 bewitching Halloween email + SMS marketing ideas

Profile photo of author Emily Riedy
Emily Riedy
16min read
Email marketing
January 8, 2023
Image shows 2 people putting earrings in.

Do you know one of the most enchanting things about Halloween?

The opportunity to be anyone or anything you can dream up—you just need the right attire.

In the right Halloween costume, you may have a super fun night, create community with your people, face your fears, or even honor the dead. Of course, it takes a while to plan the right costume. You’ve got to invest, plan, make choices, and think through the actual day.

New research: Halloween spending habits

In 2022, consumers planned to spend about $100 on average for Halloween, between candy, decorations, costumes, and party supplies. Total spending last year was set to exceed $10.6B.

Recent data collected by Klaviyo shows Halloween to outperform every other federal holiday except BFCM, including Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Top performing Klaviyo customers attributed an average of over $1M to Halloween email campaigns, and over $110k to SMS campaigns.

Image shows a chart indicating top performing Klaviyo customers on Halloween email campaigns
Source: Klaviyo
Image shows a chart indicating top performing Klaviyo customers on Halloween SMS campaigns
Source: Klaviyo

If your brand sells makeup or clothing that could be used in a costume, take note for your email marketing strategy. It’s not just classic Halloween products that make big sales during this season. Similarly, if shoppers come to you for food and beverages to host a party, you don’t want to miss this opportunity.

Creating a Halloween email is much like conjuring up a spectacular costume: It takes a bunch of brainstorming, a dash of artistry, and a sprinkle of guts to produce an email marketing campaign that’s hauntingly click-worthy.

Plus, when brewed successfully, it can help you ensnare new customers and spellbind your existing ones as you prepare to head into the busiest time of the retail year.

15 tried-and-true Halloween email + SMS marketing campaign ideas

Regardless of how your audience intends to spend this Halloween, there are ways to make your email marketing campaigns out-of-this-world relatable and applicable to their plans. You just need to put together the magic words—and images, and layout.

These 15 Halloween email ideas (plus examples) can show you where to start.

1. Play with the spooky colors of the season

Just because your products don’t directly relate to Halloween doesn’t mean you have to sit on the Halloween marketing sidelines. Find inspiration from the quintessential color scheme of the festivities and share Halloween messages that visually engage your subscribers.

Brand example: BABOON TO THE MOON’s Halloween email showcases their bright orange travel bag product line against a black background. They keep their call to action (CTA) simple, encouraging subscribers to “shop orange things.”

With the humorously added touch of the witch’s hat, BABOON TO THE MOON visually evokes the Halloween spirit—while keeping the copy of the email short and sweet.

Image shows a marketing email from Baboon to the Moon
Source: Baboon to the Moon

2. Put people first and products second in your Halloween emails

Seasonal events open the door for you to build relationships with your brand’s community because they create a shared experience you can use to relate to your audience. You build these relationships, similar to the ones you have with close friends and family members, through conversations—not just sales (although an enticing promotion never hurts).

Bring your brand to life by highlighting the people behind it and use Halloween as your bridge of communication to create personal connections.

Brand example: In their Halloween email, luxury pajama brand Printfresh shares what their team’s cozy, in-home Halloween evenings entail, as well as the movie favorites each person paired with their plans.

You might not think Halloween and a pajamas brand are a match made in heaven. But Printfresh makes it work by focusing on their staff’s spine-chilling film recommendations, rather than their product.

Image shows a Halloween marketing email from Printfresh
Image shows a Halloween marketing email from Printfresh
Source: Printfresh

3. Explain the magical properties of your products

Do you sell hand-stitched throw blankets? Or clothes made from the softest, most sustainably grown organic cotton known to humankind? Are your beauty products filled with clean, all-natural elixirs that’ll get rid of even the deepest crow’s feet?

Your Halloween email campaigns can serve as the perfect means to share the unique qualities of your products—the things that make them truly magical.

Brand example: Supply, a brand that sells personal grooming products, takes this email as an opportunity to educate their subscribers about a Halloween-appropriate ingredient in their Healing Post Shave: witch hazel.

By including a customer review and a cheeky joke to boot, Supply effectively drums up brand awareness and potentially some product sales.

Image shows a Halloween marketing email from Supply
Source: Supply

4. Consider how your products can translate to Halloween decorations

In 2020 alone, 53% of people decorated for Halloween, according to the National Retail Foundation. That means consumers plan to spook-out their home, their pet, or even their food and beverages as they take part in this year’s festivities.

Think about the creative ways your products can help your subscribers celebrate—and use your Halloween email to share your genius ideas.

Brand example: Healthy snack brand Gr8nola uses this Halloween email to share recipes for ghastly treats that feature their products as the main ingredient: disguising avocado toast as Dracula or brownies as mini grave sites.

Image shows a Halloween marketing email from Gra8nola
Source: Gr8nola

5. Combine Halloween emails with fall trends to reach a broader audience

Depending on what you know about your audience, your Halloween email could play into your customers’ interests by using widely publicized events as a hook.

Fall isn’t just sweater weather season or the time of the year people turn drinking pumpkin spiced lattes into a sport—it’s also a time of topical events in society and politics. In the U.S., for example, October’s often the lead-up to elections and the World Series—and those are just the recurring events.

Brand example: During the 2020 race for U.S. Vice President, California Senator Kamala Harris stood her ground as former Vice President Mike Pence tried to speak over her.

With this Halloween email, Bird + Stone—a brand that donates 10% of every purchase to a cause of their customers’ choosing—flocks to the opportunity to promote a specialty product that celebrates Harris’s iconic response.

Image shows a Halloween marketing email from Bird + Stone
Source: Bird + Stone

6. Use a one-day sale message to create a sense of urgency

Your Halloween email campaigns can usher your end-of-season products to their retail graves. Stir up a sense of urgency by advertising a one-day, get-it-before-it’s-gone sale.

Brand example: Color Camp, a customizable nail art brand, is all about promoting the season’s most fashionable nail trends. But staying current means changing over inventory—fast.

The brand uses this Halloween email to promote fall-inspired manicures—and warns subscribers it’s their last chance to buy the seasonal designs before Color Camp says R.I.P.

Image shows a Halloween marketing email from Color Camp
Source: Color Camp

7. Use Halloween as an opportunity to create mystery—and community

Not every marketing email has to include product information and big sales. Millions of people spent way too much time on their phones during the more active stages of the pandemic—which means that now, people may find themselves heading online to feel like they’re a part of something.

Image shows a marketing email from Minor Figures
Source: Minor Figures

Brand example: Minor Figures, an oat milk company, takes a different approach with this Halloween marketing email. Instead of including product shots, discount codes, or special offers, the email simply displays their logo, a designed “Happy Halloween,” and 4 CTA buttons with alternating copy:“trick” or “treat.”

In order for a customer to move forward, they would have to click on one (or more) of the buttons. When they do, they see images that are a mixture of funny and creepy (perfect for Halloween) or just plain cute.

Image shows rubber ducks lined up at an abandoned rubber duck factory in Cleveland
Image shows a black kitten wearing bat wings
Image source: Minor Figures

Does a move like this necessarily help you sell more products? Not likely—or at least, not in the immediate term. But it can go a long way toward building brand awareness, and it can also make your audience appreciate that you would send something that’s actually entertaining, not just transactional.

8. Tell a ghost story—literally

One of the goals of any marketing email is to get your reader to read the entire thing—or at least scroll far enough to reach the CTA button that will take them into a funnel.

With that in mind, why not tell an actual story? One that will keep them on the hook—complete with images and funny, on-brand storytelling.

Image shows a BirdDogs email featuring a series of illustrated vignettes, like a comic book.
Image source: BirdDogs

Brand example: BirdDogs, a men’s apparel brand, sent this Halloween email with comic-book-like vignettes and irreverent, on-brand storytelling.

The CTA isn’t until the very bottom—and it doesn’t exactly announce itself. But we still think this is a clever, entertaining move that could help build trust with your subscribers.

9. Offer BOGO sales—and seriously big discounts

Why not use Halloween as an excuse to get some merchandise in front of your subscribers? If a buy-one, get-one-with-a-discount offer is in your brand’s future, time it so it lines up with Halloween.

Design the email so it’s on-brand and aligns with the holiday theme, then track your results.

Image shows a Halloween-themed email from Homage, with a jack-o-lantern header image
Image source: Homage

Brand example: HOMAGE, a sports apparel company, seizes Halloween as an opportunity to offer a real treat: a big incentive to purchase through buy-one, get-one 40% off.

Not only that, the products HOMAGE features in this email are Halloween-themed, each with their own CTA button that reminds subscribers of the 40% they’ll get off the second purchase.

10. Stay true to your brand

Would a bright orange background and pumpkins in your email subject line feel inauthentic for your brand? If that kind of thing doesn’t feel right, find creative ways to stay true to your story.

Image shows a marketing email from French Girl showing drawing of ghouls
Image source: French Girl

Brand example: French Girl Organics, a sustainable organic beauty brand, stays true to their aesthetic in this Halloween email.

Like the email from Minor Figures, it’s a different approach to the typical Halloween sales email—no CTAs, and no sales funnels to click into. But it’s likely to engage the audience and reinforce brand awareness.

The only risk here is not offering the subscriber a path to purchase.

11. Offer early access to a product or bundle

The average consumer only subscribes to a few brands via SMS.

If you’ve got a customer’s digits, you’re special—up there with their friends and family, able to reach them while they’re eating dinner, watching TV, or even in bed.

So, what should you do with this great power and responsibility? Use it wisely.

Make your SMS subscribers feel special—and grateful that they put you on their (likely small) list. What better way than offering them early access to a sale?

Image shows a marketing text from Dog Bakery
Image source: Klaviyo Showcase

Brand example: Dog Bakery sells dog treats and celebration cakes. They give their SMS subscribers early access to a Halloween bundle in this MMS.

With a kooky, on-brand image and short, to-the-point email copy, along with a clear link to click, the subscriber has everything they need to take advantage of the early access.

12. Put SMS best practices to work

There’s plenty of advice for SMS marketing, but a couple of the biggest tips are:

  1. Don’t sound like a robot.
  2. Use SMS for urgency.

In other words: Invest in SMS copy so that it sounds conversational. It should also be short. Don’t ask your subscribers to scroll through a long text if your message can be succinct.

In terms of urgency, consider using the SMS channel for messages that convey a limited-time sale.

Image shows a marketing text from Scrubin
Image source: Klaviyo Showcase

Brand example: Scrubin sells uniforms and work apparel for medical professionals. And this marketing SMS follows those SMS best practices perfectly.

The copy is short, playful, and directive. And the reason for the message—it’s Friday, the day of the sale—is timely and urgent.

13. Time a product launch to coincide with Halloween

Consumers have plenty to shop for leading up to Halloween: costumes, candy, home decorations, and party supplies, to name a few. If your inventory doesn’t fall into one of those categories, and you want to sell more products during this season, you may have to do something special.

Consider a product launch—or another “first ever” event.

Image shows a marketing email from Vivie and Ash
Image source: Klaviyo Showcase

Brand example: Vivie & Ash, a children’s apparel brand, uses this email to launch their first-ever Halloween collection, offering subscribers both a presale and a giveaway.

Vivie & Ash’s email, which earned both a high open rate and a high click rate, kicks off with a subject line that is both holiday-themed and to-the-point: Sneaks of Halloween! 👻

The images offer high-quality product close-ups and links above the fold that take the subscriber directly to the relevant product pages.

14. Create real urgency by including a countdown clock

Urgency is a great way to drive sales, and there are plenty of ways to create it: Make the amount of time that the discounts are available limited, communicate that clearly, and send well-timed reminders.

But a countdown clock—one that updates in real time, accurate to the subscriber’s time zone—does a lot of that work for you.

Image shows a marketing text from Essentia
Image source: Klaviyo Showcase

Essentia, an organic mattress company, held a “midnight madness sale” on Halloween, and sent this email at 12:00 a.m. local. At the very top is a countdown clock, so whatever time the subscriber opens the email, they can tell how much time they have left to take advantage of the deal.

This is great for a few reasons:

  • It’s personalized—literally. The subscriber doesn’t have to do any work to figure out how much time they have left to buy.
  • It’s considerate. While creating urgency, it also lets you know that if you can’t shop right now, you can mark your calendar for a few hours ahead to look through the products and see if you can take advantage.
  • It’s clear. Positioned at the top of the email, the clock is front and center so the reader simply can’t miss it. It’s easy to catch, and it’s easy to refer back to—after the reader checks out all the other good stuff in the email (social proof, additional discounts, and delivery details).

Learn how to add a countdown timer to your emails in Klaviyo.

15. Go all in on Halloween puns

Halloween is a fun, lighthearted holiday that tends to be less stressful than Thanksgiving and the other winter holidays. Why not imbue your marketing with a sense of silliness?

Image shows a marketing text from Dr Brite, including a Halloween email subject line
Image source: Klaviyo Showcase

Dr Brite, a health and wellness brand, features a playful subject line and headline in their email: Wipes, just for Boo. It’s so good they use it twice. And good thing, too—it earned them a high open rate.

The rest of the copy above the fold is on-theme with Halloween allusions and even imagery. Below the fold, the email displays 3 separate CTA buttons, so the reader can easily get to the exact product they want to buy.

Use your Halloween emails to build relationships ahead of BCFM

There isn’t a prescribed template for the perfect Halloween email campaign. That’s part of the beauty of this seasonal event.

Your Halloween email can be whatever you imagine it to be—quirky, informative, entertaining, or anything in between. The one important thing to remember is that Halloween falls just before the biggest time of the year for business owners, so now’s the time to forge the customer relationships that’ll help you reach your goals come Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM).

Your toil and trouble now will pay off in spades as you head into the holiday season.

Get tips and tricks for your holiday marketing all year long.
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Emily Riedy
Emily Riedy
Content marketing manager
Emily Riedy is a content marketing manager at Klaviyo where she works to publish content to educate and inspire online businesses owners and email marketers. Owned marketing channels are a means to building a substantial customer base for the long-term, and the content Emily is most passionate about helps business operators create strong business foundations in owned marketing principles. Before Klaviyo, Emily worked at a paid ads agency helping businesses transform their approach to digital advertising. When she's not strategizing marketing content, she is running around the streets of Boston training for whatever race is next up on the docket. She lives in the South End with her 2 year-old basenji Fig and frequents (probably too regularly) the local Spanish tapas spot.