We channeled the ghost of Halloween past to help you plan spook-tacular events and promotions. We know this special day offers great opportunities for getting the community together, so we’ve grabbed some successful ideas from your colleagues in the field for inspiration. All treats, no tricks!
Hold a Costume Contest
What's the best thing about Humane Society for Greater Savannah's annual Wag-O-Ween costume contest? They are maximizing engagement by both awarding prizes at the event and offering a "Facebook Choice" award where fans can vote for their favorite. (We ain’t lion—here’s a previous winner!)
Give Shelter Animals Halloween-Themed Names
This photo drives us batty—in a good way! Great idea from Leon County Humane Society to give a cat a Halloween-themed name and promote him with a fun festive frame (this one is from PicCollage).
Ask for Captions on Facebook
Ask your social media fans to submit photos of pets decked out for Halloween, then post them to your Facebook page or tweet them out and ask for captions. We plead guilty to such tactics... we posted this pic from Humane Society of Charlotte on our ASPCApro page and asked folks to share their funniest caption.
Look to the Books and Movies
Grab your graphics wiz and scare up a fun promo like this one from San Diego Humane Society. Draw your inspiration from current best sellers like Harry Potter, or hit the classics like Frankenstein and The Addams Family. The possibilities for parodies and promos are endless!
76 Trombones Led the Big Parade...
Humane Society of Greater Dayton held a Bow-Wow-Ween Pet Parade and asked $20 per pet to register. Costume prizes include: Best Overall, Scariest, Funniest, Most Original and Best Doggie/Owner Duo Costumes. (P.S. Yep, you guessed it—they found Waldo.)
Photoshop Costumes on Cats
For cats who aren’t into the real deal when it comes to donning apparel, find a tech-savvy staffer or volunteer who can transform an ordinary cat photo by Photoshopping on some adornments. Here, Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode simply pasted on a hat to create an adorable bus driver pic.
Share Halloween Safety Tips with Your Community
To better prepare pet owners for the big night, here’s a list of the top 5 safety tips, courtesy of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. You can share them on Facebook (make the most of ‘em and post one tip a day) or include them in your email newsletter. You can also download and print a copy and have it at your front desk for easy reference by staff. Download the poster here.
Have Your Team Join the Fun
BOO-tiful! Humane Society of Washington County kicked off Halloween one year with Freaky Free Cat Friday, featuring fee-waived cat adoptions and reduced fees for dogs. We love that staff dressed up, too, creating the perfect festive atmosphere for potential adopters.
Sell Halloween Stuff
Does your shelter have an in-house or online store? Humane Society of South Mississippi enticed customers to their BowWow Boutique with 50% off all Halloween merchandise until the end of the month. And we like this important reminder they posted on Facebook: "The money you spend with us goes back into our lifesaving programs!"
Bust Some Myths
It’s that time of the year when you may see stories in the media about black cats, and reporters may even ask you for interviews. Although mobs of shelters now smartly use the day to promote their dark-furred kitties, there’s still a few organizations that hold back their black cats during Halloween. (Check out some of our favorite black cat promos here.)
There’s also the myth that fewer black cats are adopted compared to animals of other colors. Read Dr. Emily Weiss’ classic blog on this topic, and how about sharing the correct information with your community? Could be an interesting discussion on your social media channels.