Halloween email campaign tips

Christmas claims the largest share of holiday spending in the United States, but Halloween is hot on its heels. Americans’ passion for dressing up themselves and their kids, homes, offices and pets creates a market worth more than $10.1 Billion annually.

We wanted to see what great things marketers are doing for their Halloween email promotions and content, so we ran through the Email Creative Archive like 10-year-olds foraging in a Halloween candy bag and here is what we found.

Many messages were the email equivalent of circus peanuts, but a few choice emails stood out in our email archive like full-size candy bars.


1. More Animation

Halloween is all about motion, whether it’s bats, ghosts and witches flying, kids trick-or-treating, lights flickering, candles glowing in spooky mansions … and we were glad to see marketers incorporating movement into their emails.

The Halloween email below is a great example because the animation is subtle but on message for both the content and the brand. It’s fail-safe, too. Animation is a great attention-getter once the email is opened. But, if it somehow doesn’t work, the email still must deliver the message.

This email, from UK gift and chocolate seller Hotel Chocolat, passes that test. We love the ghost in the background (click on the image below to see it in real time in the Email Creative Archive The archive is free to use – just register for unlimited access.


  • We love the calls to action: “Open Door,” “Add to Cauldron,” “Take a Bite.” Halloween’s creepy-fun side has long since eclipsed its pagan origins.
  • Your creative team would likely love to exercise its artistic and copywriting muscles. So, don’t be afraid to have fun.

Sender: Hotel Chocolat Ltd — Subject line: Halloween. Sorted. — Preheader: Our Trick or Treat bucket. One for all the little monsters at your door.

Halloween Email


Sender: L.A. Burdick Chocolate — Subject line: Introducing our Halloween Crate — Preheader: Filled with frightfully delicious Halloween chocolates.

LA Burdick - Halloween Email Animation

Sender: Prep Sportswear — Subject line: Win this Halloween. Reveal your mystery offer! Preheader: Click to reveal up to 50% off

Prep SW - Halloween Email

2. Help customers have a great Halloween

People look to brands for advice, and email is a remarkably efficient way of connecting with your customers without asking them to buy something all the time. The magic part of this is when you build a reputation as a source of help, you’ll end up selling more as a bonus.

People want to have Halloween-decorated homes their friends will envy and costumes that make them and their children stand out in the crowd.

  • If you have some special knowledge, share it with your customers to help them be successful.
  • Or, contract with a Halloween-savvy person to lend some expertise. Show customers how to buy and use your products successfully, and you might even have fewer returns and complaints.

The Halloween email below has a little fun with adult fancy dress, showing how its unique products – hats and canes – can inspire or finish off a unique costume that clearly didn’t come out of a box at the Halloween store.

Sender: Fashionable Canes — Subject line: Ghoulishly Fun Halloween Ideas — Preheader: Stylish Halloween Themes

halloween canes Halloween Email


Sender: MAC Cosmetics — Subject line: Get Halloween-Ready Tips and Tricks by Chatting Live with a M·A·C Artist — Preheader: FREE SHIPPING, RETURNS & SAMPLES ON ALL ORDERS.

MAC Halloween Email

Sender: Deb Shops — Subject line: How-to: Halloween — Preheader: Get 30% off all last minute Halloween items! Wear as a costume, then wear again all year! Shop now!

deb shops Halloween Email

3. Halloween is for everyone

“Halloween creep” has nothing to do with the spooky side of the holiday. Instead, it recognizes that when 92% of the population intends to participate one way or the other, Halloween will invade every aspect of our lives. So, even if you don’t sell candy, costumes, accessories or décor, you can piggyback onto the holiday with a clever holiday email campaign like the ones shown below:

Sender: Day-Timers — Subject line: No trick, just a treat: Save 15% until Halloween! — Preheader: Savings so good, you’ll scream

Halloween Email Example


Sender: Bose — Subject line: Halloween Adventures Await with Bose Sound

Bose Halloween Email

4. Subject lines: A word about “spooktacular.”

Yes, it’s a play on words. It’s also hackneyed and overused. So are a few other choice phrases that you would be wise to banish from your Halloween email vocabulary* if you don’t want your emails to vanish in the inbox like mist in a swamp.

Here are several that appeared over and over (and over and over and over) in our search for Halloween email creativity:

  • Spooktacular. Also spook-tacular, spook-takular and spooktakular. Just say no.
  • Scary-good (also scary-sweet)
  • Freak-tastic (but “fang-tastic” is still acceptable for now)
  • No Tricks, Just Treats
  • Spooky-good

The 10 subject lines below will help your Halloween emails stand out in the inbox like a 10-foot-tall lighted blow-up skeleton:

  1. Knock ’em dead this Halloween!: PepperMayo
  2. If Your Dog Can’t Have Halloween Candy, What CAN He Have?: petplace
  3. Have a Bone Chillin’ Halloween with Sharka: Crazy Shirts
  4. Have a Spooky Sparkly Halloween with Swarovski Crystals: Bluestreak Crystals
  5. Ghoulishly Fun Halloween Ideas: Fashionable Canes
  6. Inside: Your Failsafe Halloween Lineup: Urban Decay
  7. The eyes have it! Boost your Halloween glam with NEW lashes!: Benefit Cosmetics
  8. They’ll Be Goblin Up These Halloween Goodies: The Swiss Colony
  9. They Could Handle The Scares, Can You?: Universal Studios
  10. Fill your dog’s bag with these treats!: Petco

* As always, test your subject lines before shifting your subject-line strategies. If you discover that “spooktacular” drives a 10X lift in opens, clicks and conversions, then use it with our blessing. Just don’t use it because it’s easy.

Email Creative Archive

Recent Posts

The undead that roam the earth at Halloween are nothing compared with the terrors in your email address database. These frightful traps can kill your email marketing program faster than you can say “Trick or Treat!” Why? Because they cost money to find and fix them. They can get you blocklisted, kicked off your email […]

Do you manage your company’s email list? If so, growing your list and keeping it clean are two of your top priorities. We’re here to make this process easier. Leading companies and nonprofits are teaming up with FreshAddress to use Auto SafeToSend to: Add thousands of clean and deliverable customer email addresses to their database. […]
Chat with us