I absolutely love Halloween. And I’ll admit, sometimes I like it more than Christmas. Think about it, when else can grown-ups dress in silly customs and really let loose? Apparently, I’m not alone. According to the National Retail Foundation, people spend over $6 billion every year. Considering that Halloween, unlike Christmas, doesn’t have months-long buildup attached to it, that number is staggering.
People love to spend for Halloween. All that money goes into themed parties, drinks (both alcoholic and otherwise), and of course, candy and costumes. This gives enterprising individuals the perfect opportunity to cash-in during the holiday.
Here’s a list of the stuff I’ve been doing for the last couple of Halloweens. Use them as inspiration for your own money-making ideas!
1. Create spooky content
If you’re the creative type, you can look into creating Creepypastas and posting related videos on YouTube or your blog (more on blogs later). Creepypastas are horror memes or stories that get passed around on social media sites like Reddit and Facebook. The stories are usually short (at least as far as stories go), and are easily shareable. Stories like that of The Slender Man started out as Creepypastas, but have since gone mainstream.
You won’t make money off social media shares; think of those as advertising. The money to be had is in YouTube. Once your Creepypastas have built a following, create videos expanding their stories and upload them to YouTube. Remember, Creepypastas try to pass themselves as “real” so a documentary-style video would work best. This also means you won’t have to spend too much on your production budget. You can also promote your stories on your own blog, which brings us to…
2. Start your own blog
You can make your blog the official site of your Creepypasta. If creating horror stories isn’t your cup of blood, I mean, tea, you can always tackle friendlier, but still on-theme, topics such as:
Halloween customs and traditions around the world
You can even mix or match all of these topics based on your interests.
Once it the blog is up, monetize your content via Google AdSense, affiliate links on Amazon, or sponsored content.
3. Make and sell custom Jack-o’-Lanterns
Jack-o’-Lanterns are perhaps the most iconic of all Halloween decorations. Just about every house displays them. Because they’re so common, you have the opportunity to make and sell unique designs. I got this idea after noticing that my neighbors would engage in some friendly competition over who had the best, most unique Jack-o’-Lanterns. I started offering my services, and have since built a steady seasonal market.
I suggest you come up with some stock designs that you can do easily. You customers can have these designs tweaked for a small additional fee. If they want to go full-custom, you can charge an even higher fee, and even a designer’s fee on top of actually making the Jack-o’-Lantern.
You can use the internet to promote your business, but you’ll have to find a reliable way to ship the pumpkins safely and quickly. Most of my business actually came from setting up a stall near our local pumpkin grower. Whenever people buy pumpkins from the farm, they see my stall and immediately hire me to carve up their pumpkins. On a busy day, I can carve up to 15 pumpkins!
4. Plan Halloween Parties
People love to party, but not a whole lot of people actually want to plan and set them up. This is where you come in! If you’ve got a knack for throwing parties, you should definitely look into party planning during Halloween.
A word of advice: just because you’re good at, say, baking or decorating, that won’t necessarily make you a good party planner. A party planner needs to be good at keeping things organized, as well as dealing with budgets and suppliers. Think of yourself as the conductor in an orchestra, not a musician.
Keep a list of “stock” party concepts (for example, zombie-themed) that the client can customize. You should also keep a list of trusted, reliable suppliers that you can always hire.
Party planning is hard work, but if you’re game, it can pay off, and not just for Halloween, but for the rest of the year.
5. Cook and sell Halloween sweets
Next to costumes and things that go bump in the night, Halloween is all about candy! With houses stocking-up on candy, you’ve got the chance to sell special, handmade treats. I mentioned above that my neighbors got competitive with their Jack-o’-Lanterns. The same happened with candy. Most homeowners took pride in giving trick-or-treaters special non-mass produced, candies. I made a decent amount selling them my sugary creations!
6. Make and sell Halloween toys and crafts
Some houses prefer to give toys instead of candy. I get it; people are more health-conscious now. If your neighbors are the type, you can sell them handmade toys instead. People can also use your creations as decorations!
7. Buy and sell Halloween costumes
This is, by far, my most lucrative Halloween money-making scheme. The trick to this is to buy late this year and sell early next year. Confused? Let me explain:
Buy late this year
Buy costumes from places like Walmart after Halloween. Retailers are usually looking to dump their Halloween merchandise, especially with Christmas coming in. Halloween products are some of the most marked-down items in a store’s inventory. The week after Halloween, I load up on costumes, most of which I buy at very steep discounts.
Then I put the items in storage, ready to be sold on Halloween next year.
Sell early next year
As soon as Halloween comes back around, stores will be selling merchandise at full prices. You can then sell your own items, which you acquired at discount last year, at a steep discount. You need to sell early, though. It’s best to have your items up for sale around the same time retailers start selling theirs.
You can sell your items on websites like eBay or Facebook. Ebay is great, but comes with a lot of fees. If you want to minimize overhead, try Facebook instead.
Other custom-related ideas
If you’re handy when it comes to sewing, you can offer alteration services. Since customs aren’t made in the same quantities as regular clothes, they may not always have the correct sizes in-stock at stores.
You can also customize existing costumes, or make fully custom ones, to make the wearer’s Halloween really unique.
8. Do Halloween makeup
If selling and making customs isn’t your thing, you can always do Halloween makeup. There’s a huge market for this during the season. I suggest you buy lots of face paints from retailers during sales. You can set up face-painting booths during fairs or events around your city. Try to have a bunch of designs you can do easily, since you’ll want a quick turnover of clients.
9. Set-up a haunted house
I once set-up a haunted house in our neighborhood, and I can’t recommend it enough. Among all the items on this list, this one requires the most financial outlay. But you can also earn big with this and have so much fun in the process!
People love watching scary movies, but nothing compares to getting spooked in real life. The long line of eager visitors waiting to pay to enter my haunted house proved this!
It required substantial planning and a full team of ushers, decorators, and, of course, scarers to get things rolling. I also had to invest in decor, costumes, and a suitable sound system. But in the end, it was all worth it. We maintained a steady pace of 50 visitors per hour (most of them came in groups) paying $15 per head. At the end of a ten-hour shift, we had earned $7,500! More than enough to cover our initial investment.
But before you start, I suggest you do research on your local zoning and safety regulations. Some states may require haunted houses to secure permits or waivers first. If they do, you’ll have to factor in that into the cost of the project.
These are legit ways to make money during Halloween! The only scary thing about them is how awesome and lucrative they are! They require a good amount of creativity and planning, but give them a try!
This list is based on the stuff I did to make money over Halloween. How about you? Have you found other fun ways to make a profit during the holiday?
Let’s hear your stories!