How to prevent a scary Halloween.

As if this storm wasn’t enough.

Tomorrow night, box offices on and off Broadway will face another disaster.  This one is called Halloween.

Halloween is a horrible night for ticket sales.  Kids want to dress up and trick or treat.  Adults want to dress up (or undress, if you’ve been watching the costume trends of the last few years) and party.

And the last thing that folks seem to want to do is take in a nice night at the theater.

But you’ve got a show!  So what do you do to prevent a frightening night at the box office?

Time to put on your creativity costume!  Here are a few ideas off the top of my pumpkin:

1.  Trick or Treat at your Stage Door

Announce that for an hour or two before curtain, trick or treaters can come get some treats at your theater.  And get the stars to hand them out.  And in addition to some cheap candy, hand out “Mystery Tickets” for that evening’s performance that give different discounts, from $10 – FREE.  The gamification of the ticket and the interaction with the stars, will certainly sell you a few more tickets.

2.  Costume Contest

This is the most obvious of ideas, of course, so if you’re going to do it, make sure your prize is at a super premium.  Remember, costume contests happen all over on Halloween night with prizes as high as $5,000!  So what are you going to offer to lure folks away from those other more lucrative events?  And remember, people who dress up, want to show those costumes off . . . so you better offer them a chance to be seen by that entire audience as well.

3.  Have a post show Halloween Party

If you think your usual audience wants to party, then give it to them.  If you offer them what they are after AND your show, you may have a shot at getting them to show up.  I call this casino marketing.  Don’t let your folks go somewhere else, if you have the resources to give them what they’re after.

4.  Don’t wait.  Buy your candy early!

Are you one of those people that wait until Halloween day to buy your candy?  Only to find that all that’s left is black licorice and Tic-Tacs?  And you shake your head and swear that next year, you’ll prepare early?  The same is true for Halloween ticket sales.  Plan for a slow evening months in advance.  Variable price your tickets for that performance to try and drive as much sales for that performance . . . before people realize it’s Halloween.  🙂

5.  Just don’t do it.

Sometimes, the best thing you can do when faced with a night like Halloween is to not do a show.  It’s ok to change your schedule.  You can spend a lot of time and money trying to promote a Halloween performance, when you might actual net more just changing your schedule and not having to work so hard promoting an alternate performance.  To use a timely analogy, if a storm is coming, just get out of the way.

Have an idea on how to have a successful Halloween performance?  Share it below!


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below!  Click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)



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  • After canceling our 28th, 29th & 30th shows, we will be thrilled to do a performance of HALLOWEEN HULLABALOO on Halloween if we can. After all, it’s a Halloween show!

  • AmyKB says:

    loved this piece. I hadn’t thought about Halloween being a troublesome night for shows… probably because the only one I ever worked on during that time was The Rocky Horror Show!

  • Steven J. Conners says:

    Well, I’ve been involved with the “Spook” shows for over fifty years, and the one night we didn’t play was Halloween. That was because everybody does their own show on Halloween. Guess that would be the same for B’Way, too. Your comment to close down will save money and hassel. With all the public transportation out, the Great White Way, after Sandy blew through, will be a “ghost town”. You’re giving good advice.

  • Paula says:

    You always give added information to your blogs.
    Surprised to learn about the Webster Hall (Hell) annual
    Hallowe’en Party since the 1800’s. What a program!

  • Diana Bartak Lipkus says:

    Be sure to plan a costume parade & singing exposition for intermission and allow the peeps to go up on the stage. Have a GONG to indicate if the crowd reaction to the costume and the singing is yay or nay. Call this the “Song and Gong Halloween”. I am certain lots of people will find it an honor to be there and tell their friends and relatives they sang on the Broadway stage!

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