One of the things customers buy into is nostalgia and a Hallowe’en party is a great way to provide some. There are plenty of games and activities from days gone by that will still appeal to contemporary customers. One of my favourites from yesteryear is apple bobbing, but done with a twist as the prize of an apple will not be as appealing as it was when we were children. Buy a cheap plastic dustbin and fill it with water; then using ribbon or garden string tie prizes to your apples (use a butcher’s needle that you would use to sew meat joints with). The ideal prizes for a pub apple bob are miniature bottles of spirits and for the booby prizes (there have to be a few) a heavy washer. The person bobbing will have no idea what they are going to get when they successfully retrieve an apple and the antics they will perform provide cheap entertainment for other party goers.
There is a game called “Spotty Bottoms” that provides a bit of audience participation and doesn’t cost a fortune. Buy some self-adhesive coloured spot labels and randomly distribute these on the bottoms of some of your loose chairs and stools (the number depends on the number of drinks you are prepared to give away as the prize in this game). At a point convenient to you during the evening you or your MC can announce “Spotty Bottoms” – choose a colour and tell your customers that the first to arrive at the bar with their spotty bottom (chair/stool included) wins a free drink.
A great old-fashioned team game is “Up and Under”. Attach a length of ribbon or garden string to a large orange (between 6 and 8 feet should do it) and assemble a couple or three teams of men and women (alternately in a queue). At the start of the game the first person in the queue passes the orange through their clothing (men – up their trousers and shirt; women down their tops and skirts/trousers). The first person in the queue holds on to the string tightly and the winning team is the first to pass their orange Up and Under to the last person in the queue. Another good game with an orange is to pass the orange from under the chin of each team member and not using their hands see which team can pass the orange from start to end of their queue first.
My absolute favourite Hallowe’en game is “Dress The Mummy”. This requires only a modest outlay on cheap toilet rolls – your cash and carry will always have a good deal on these. Ask your customers to form teams of five or six people and choose one of their members to be the mummy. The rest, at the given starting signal, then have to dress the mummy in the toilet rolls provided, in my experience about 6 rolls per mummy is required. You can then give out prizes for the fastest and the best dressed mummy. You won’t believe the fun that this game will add to your Hallowe’en party
Top Tip – don’t forget to photograph the action and the results for your website, Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook page. Something pubs forget to do is to display their own and their customers’ pictures of parties held at the pub, which, is a great shame as having a wall or notice board near the entrance to the pub covered with pictures of all the good times is a great way of turning occasional customers into regular patrons.
Something for all your party goers to participate in is a video quiz. Using Windows Media it’s very easy to put together a visual quiz. Select about 40 to 50 still images from around the internet of favourite horror movie scenes, stitch them together to form a slide show, add Michael Jackson’s Thriller as the sound track (it lasts just over six minutes). Now by judging the two thirds mark in the song to be where your images end at normal speed, then reverse the sequence at twice the speed back to the beginning to coincide with the end of the song.
Add your own opening and closing titles and transfer to a DVD, provide a numbered answer sheet and Bob’s your uncle a ready made, memorable video quiz. You can run the images a couple of times to give everyone a fair chance and provide suitable prizes for the winner and runner-up who get the most answers in the correct order. This is a really cheap way of entertaining your customers, your major investment is the time in sourcing the images and putting them together – a fun couple of hours away from the bar can’t be a bad thing, eh?
Remember… it’s just a jump to the left…
One other thing you’ll need to do, unless you are employing a DJ, is to create your Hallowe’en music list to play through the evening. Play lists I have made up in the past included all the stock favourites (Monster Mash, Thriller, The Time Warp etc) interspersed with scary sound effects or you can easily find Hallowe’en party mixes for sale.
Hallowe’en Ideas From Licensees Supporting Licensees
Dawn Hopkins – my customers like nothing more than to get into suspenders, I mean fancy dress, so for them a party with nothing more than a fancy dress theme, some cheesy tunes and a bar that doesn’t shut til late is all that is required.
Steve Wilson– All I would say is always do it on the actual 31st. Defaulting to the nearest Fri or Sat night is a cop-out. Last year was a Weds and whilst it wasn’t bouncing, we still had around 40 more customers than usual. Most pubs don’t bother if it’s not a weekend so you win on the PR front too
Benjamin Conradie-Yorke – We just had a dress up, loads of sweets on the bar, loads of spider webs etc. We encourage our regulars to bring their children for trick and treat for the early part. No children after 9. We had pub games with silly prizes, drinking specials as in: For the next 30 mins all shots 2 pounds, or bring me a pink bra and you get a bottle of wine and just general fun, turned up the music and let it go crazy … it turned into a hoot with people not wanting to leave.