Halloween has become a booming holiday for businesses. Total Halloween spending in the United States has skyrocketed from $3.29 billion in 2005 to over $10.1 billion in 2021, according to the National Retail Federation. This represents a nearly 210% increase over 16 years!
With spending projected to continue rising, the Halloween season presents a prime opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to capitalize on demand for spooky experiences, products and services.
As a startup consultant helping founders turn their passions into successful ventures for over 15 years, I‘ve seen many creative Halloween businesses thrive with the right strategy. Read on as I share 21 frighteningly good – and profitable – Halloween business ideas you can launch in 2023.
1. Haunted House Attraction
Haunted houses are a Halloween staple, drawing in over 2,000 paying customers per season for well-executed attractions. Set up shop in a commercial property or large outdoor space and transform it into an immersive haunt. Invest in quality decor, animatronics, costuming and skilled actors to provide thrills. Offer group discounts and fast passes at a premium to increase revenue. Plan for year-round sustainability by adding holiday themes.
Hiring specialists for lighting, sound, and special effects can make your haunt truly terrifying. One of my clients made over $120,000 in October alone by collaborating with escape room designers to create an interactive haunted house experience. Use online ticketing and leverage influencer promotions to boost visibility. Protect yourself with liability insurance and emergency protocols. If done right, this fright business can produce major returns.
2. Halloween Costume Subscription Box
The subscription box market is booming, projected to reach $39.1 billion by 2025. Combine this with Halloween costume demand, and you have a winner. Curate monthly boxes with high-demand costume items like capes, masks, wigs, makeup, accessories and more.
Seek partnerships with costume suppliers and manufacturers to obtain bulk discounts you can pass on to subscribers. Allow customers to customize their boxes to specific themes like 1980s prom or fantasy characters.
One subscription box entrepreneur I advised pivoted from beauty boxes to Halloween costumes, increasing revenue by $24,000 in a single month through strategic upselling tactics like bundle deals. With creative curation and solid digital marketing, your costume subscription box can be a new Halloween tradition.
3. AR Haunted House Mobile App
Leverage augmented reality technology to create a haunted AR house experience right on users‘ mobile devices. Work with AR developers to code an app allowing users to project and interact with virtual objects like ghosts, monsters and creepy creatures in their real-life surroundings.
Incorporate AR tutorials and games to onboard users and maximize engagement. Charge $1.99 – $4.99 for app download or offer in-app purchases and premium features. Cross-promote with local haunted attractions.
One experienced AR developer I consulted generated over $60,000 in just three months by launching a scary AR app with strategic digital advertising. The AR market is expected to surpass $340 billion by 2027 – claim your stake in this scary-lucrative space.
4. Halloween Baking Classes
Combine tastiness with Halloween fun through baking classes teaching spooky recipes. Host sessions at your home, a rented commercial kitchen or online. Cover Halloween takes on classics like:
- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling
- Apple Pie Bites with Spiderweb Lattice
- Mummified Strawberry Meringue Cake Pops
Supply all ingredients and tools so students can bring home tasty treats. List classes on platforms like Airbnb Experiences and promote through community center newsletters. Upsell bundled classes at a discounted rate.
One baking instructor I worked with earned over $5,000 profit in just one month by offering Halloween-themed classes catering to home bakers and families. With delicious recipes and strategic marketing, your classes can be a seasonal hit.
5. Halloween Wedding Planning
Halloween weddings are having a moment, with 61% of couples today considering a spooky ceremony. Differentiate yourself by exclusively planning Halloween-inspired weddings and elopements.
Work with vendors to arrange venues, catering, decor and more tailored to themes like haunted mansions, enchanted forests, Tim Burton‘s Nightmare Before Christmas, etc. Provide Halloween props, sound effects, specialty cakes and accessories.
Upsell addons like photo booths, candy buffets, costume consultants and ghostly entertainment. One wedding planner increased their average booking value by $3,500 after focusing specifically on Halloween events. This is one business that can truly be both boo-tiful and profitable.
6. Halloween Gift Basket Business
Stand out from generic Halloween gift shops by curating creative gift baskets. Work with makers and wholesalers to source both mass-produced and artisanal candies, baked goods, home items, toys, decor and more.
Arrange selections in themes like scary movie night, witches brew, pumpkin patch picnic, and trick-or-treat hampers. Offer customization for ages and preferences. Sell direct through your ecommerce site plus on gift basket marketplaces.
One gift basket business owner I know regularly earns $2,000 per month through smart digital marketing and strategic corporate gifting partnerships. With unique basket themes and solid SEO, your frightening gift baskets can scare up sales.
7. Halloween Makeup Workshops
Bring professional-quality Halloween makeup artistry to clients through instructional workshops. Teach techniques like latex scarring, zombie wounds, vampire bites, costume contouring and more. Provide kits with materials so students can follow along.
Film tutorial videos to share online and develop passive income streams. Host private events for birthdays, bachelorette parties and corporate team building. An experienced makeup artist I consulted with earned $30,000 leadingsold-out workshops just in October by partnering with major beauty brands. Unleash your creativity while beautifying bank balances.
8. Spooky Voice Acting
Capitalize on the explosive popularity of podcasts, audiobooks and video games by providing scary voice acting services. Develop a portfolio of creepy vocal performances for commercial and creative projects. Invest in professional soundproofing, audio gear and editing software.
Outreach to indie game designers, self-publishing authors, podcast producers and haunted house attraction owners in need of scary narration and character voices. This is scalable too – one voice actor I advised now earns $60 per hour recording eerie audiobook samples for ACX, all from her home studio. Let your chilling tones make you a mint.
9. Halloween Decor Installation Service
Take the terror out of decorating by installing spooky displays at homes and businesses. Offer seasonal services like hanging lights, constructing props, setting up animatronics and inflatables, and more. Upsell premium decor like smoke machines, projected images, specialty lights and realistic props.
Partner with party rental companies and homeowner associations for referrals. Concentrate labor in September, then relax in November. One decor pro increased his average job value by $150 simply by offering sophisticated Projection Mapping and synchronized music options. Save clients time while producing a graveyard of cash.
10. Halloween Pet Portraits
Capture precious furry friends in costume through seasonal pet photography. Invest in props and backdrops to create whimsical scenes starring cats, dogs, small critters and more. Share samples to promote bookings on neighborhood platforms and social media.
Consider offering photo booths at local adoption days and pet events. An animal-loving photographer I know earns over $7,500 extra each October through pet portraits and shelter fundraisers. Schedule mini sessions in September for holiday card sales. Pets in costumes equal big profits.
The Halloween business boom provides a golden opportunity for scary and sweet business ideas to flourish. As an entrepreneurship advisor, I highly recommend focusing on memorable experiences, unique products, and specialized services to stand out in the market. Sustainability can come from expanding to serve other holidays year-round or maintaining an online presence and passive income streams.
Research your niche, polish your skills, and launch strategically to make the most of this moment. With passion, creativity and tenacity, your frightening Halloween business idea can come to life and achieve screaming success. Just remember – haunted entrepreneurs aren‘t afraid to take risks and reap those sweet Halloween rewards!