10 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Shelter Animals
We want to help you plan spook-tacular events and promotions to scare up more pet adoptions this Halloween. Here are 10 successful ideas from the field. 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're 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 and Instagram
Ask your fans to submit pics of pets decked out for Halloween, then post them and ask for captions. We plead guilty to such tactics... we posted this shot from Humane Society of Charlotte to our Facebook page and asked folks to share their funniest caption.
Look to 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 favorites like Harry Potter, Star Wars, or hit the classics like Frankenstein and The Addams Family. The possibilities for parodies and promos are endless!
Everyone Loves a 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.
Photoshop Costumes on Cats
For cats who aren’t into the real deal when it comes to donning apparel, find a staffer or volunteer who can transform an ordinary cat photo by Photoshopping some adornments. Here, Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode simply pasted on a hat to create an adorable bus driver pic. Google can help you find lots of free graphics tools cheap or free, and easy to use!
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 (make the most of ‘em and post one tip a day) or include them in your newsletter. You can also download and print a copy and have it at your front desk for easy reference by staff.
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 Merch
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 Black Cat 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.)