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!)



– Get Your Show Off The Ground!  Workshop coming up on 11/17.  Only a few spots left.  Register today.

– Win two tickets to Off-Broadway’s The Other Josh Cohen!  Click here. 

Related Posts


Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.