As an entrepreneurship consultant who has guided hundreds of small business owners, I‘ve seen firsthand how the spooky Halloween season brings a spike in consumer spending – to the tune of $10 billion each year!
Whether you‘re looking to earn some extra cash or test out a new business idea, Halloween presents the perfect opportunity. So check out these thrilling ideas and discover how you can make money while embracing the spellbinding spirit of the season!
1. Become a Halloween Costume Seller
The Halloween costume niche remains popular year after year. In 2021 alone, consumers spent $3.6 billion on buying and renting costumes.
Profit Potential: High
- Low startup costs – Source inventory from wholesalers
- High demand as people buy multiple costumes for parties, events, etc.
- Markup each costume by 100-200% to earn $10-15 per sale
I recommend focusing on pop culture and trending costumes that change each year based on movies, T.V shows, music artists and more. Disney and superheroes are always a safe bet too.
Selling costumes online via your own ecommerce store allows endless scale. Or go local by setting up pop-up Halloween shops.
2. Get Creative Carving Pumpkins
Carving pumpkins into jack-o‘-lanterns for porches and front steps is a hallmark Halloween activity with 75% of surveyed consumers decorating.
Transform this tradition into profits by offering custom carving services with silly, happy, scary or even portrait designs etched into pumpkins.
Typical Price Range: $5 per pumpkin – $100+ for large, intricate carvings
I‘ve carved complex images like Starry Night by Van Gogh and logos of companies hosting Halloween parties to make up to $30 per pumpkin.
Supplies like carving tools and cleaning kits can even boost profits through add-on sales!
3. Paint Faces (and Beyond!)
When people dress up for Halloween, having a painted face helps complete the costume and atmosphere for many trick-or-treaters and party-goers.
Offer professional face painting services right from your own home studio or set up a booth at community Halloween events and festivals which typically draw large crowds.
Expect to charge about $5 per cheek design like a spider, bat or zombie bite. Or charge from $10 – $20 per full facial design.
To really take it up a notch, extend your offerings to include body and muscle painting which allows for incredibly unique costumes that are sure to win any contest!
4. Construct a Haunted House Attraction
Creating your very own haunted house experience in your home or yard brings significant startup costs and effort but generates immense thrill for customers – and revenue for your scary setup!
Real haunted attractions charge as much as $60 per person for terrifying experiences spanning 30-45 minutes as customers navigate an intricate labyrinth of horrors and ghouls.
Of course, you can also construct a small-scale haunted house in your garage or backyard by decorating with terrifying props and enlisting friends to act out terrifying characters. Charge $5-$10 per person and make sure to secure proper insurance just in case!
5. Get a Gig as a Scare Actor
The massive haunted house industry generates over $300 million in annual revenue, supporting a wide range of gigs from set designers to actors.
If running your own haunted house seems too intimidating, join someone else’s production as a professional scare actor. These performers earn $10 – $30 per hour by startling and terrifying haunted house visitors while dressed up in full costumes and makeup.
Just one 5 hour night per week could earn you an extra $300 or more for the Halloween season! The work also allows you to embrace the Halloween spirit and might just provide some cathartic fun in the process!
6. Get Baking with Halloween Treats
Consumers spend $600 million every Halloween indulging their sweet tooth according to the National Retail Federation.
Capitalize on this demand by selling Halloween-themed baked goods like cupcakes with orange frosting, pumpkin spice cookies, rice cereal treats dipped in chocolate and decorated like tombstones or body parts, brownies made to look like haunted houses, cake pops styled like eyeballs or ghosts and so much more.
I recommend setting up an e-commerce store to ship specialty orders across the country. Locally, look into vendors booths at farmers markets and fall festivals which attract tons of families and foot traffic.
Price Range: $3 – $8 per baked item
7. Apply Spook-tacular Makeup FX
Halloween is the perfect time to unleash your creativity with horror and fantasy makeup effects for costumes like zombies, vampires, aliens, clowns, witchcraft illusions and more.
Offer professional makeup application services right from your own home studio and promote your business through costume shops, community center bulletins, local theater groups, haunted house events and on social media.
Pricing typically ranges from $45 for basic horror looks to $150+ for extravagant, advanced FX.
8. Host Halloween Craft Workshops
As households gear up for hosting Halloween parties and decorating their homes, craft workshops allow people to tap into their creativity while also learning a new skill – not to mention enjoying some holiday cheer!
Host small, intimate DIY craft workshops in your home, covering Halloween crafts like:
- Decorative Wreaths
- Wood Signmaking
- Floral Arrangements
- Tablescape Centerpieces
- Glass Candle Holders
- Mini Graveyard Terrariums
- And much more!
Supplies generally mark up at about 3x costs. By hosting just a few 2-hour workshops charging $25 per seat, this can result in major profits.
Promote your scary-cute crafting workshops on community bulletin boards both online and around town.
9. Set Up Face Painting Booths
For families with kids that want to look the part on Halloween without the fuss over costumes, simple face painting designs add festive flair.
Set up a booth at local fall festivals, community events or even busy areas like malls and shopping plazas.
For designs, keep things quick and easy to execute like:
- Power Rangers
- Paw Prints
- Zombie Blood
Charge per cheek or full facial design, typically $5 – $10 per painting. With the right location, expect high volume and major profits!
10. Plan & Manage Halloween Bashes
With over 75% of consumers decorating for Halloween and 68% planning to host or attend parties, there exists huge demand for party planning and coordination services.
Offer professional Halloween party planning tailored to taking the workload off clients‘ shoulders. Services can include:
- Venue Decorating – Cobwebs, fog machines, backdrop accents
- Entertainment Bookings – Magicians, dancers, DJs, bands
- Catering Arrangements
- Games & Contests Set Up + Prizes
- Custom Invitations & Signage
- Ticket Sales & Entry Management
- Cleanup Services
Charge clients per hour spent or base fees on the size of events, starting at $300 per small party and $800+ for large corporate events.
11. Unleash Your Interior Design Skills
Each Halloween, households spend over $2.5 billion on home decorations and businesses invest heavily in enhancing their ambiance to celebrate the season.
As an interior decorator, offer your services to fully decorate residential homes, offices, doctor/dental clinics, restaurants and cafes, event venues, senior homes – you name it!
Provide decor like:
- Giant Inflatable Figures
- Fog Machines
- Lighting Effects
- Decorative Props
- Thematic Backdrops & Scenes
- Fake Spider Webs
- Window Painting
- Custom Signage
Pricing depends on the scale of the job – aim to charge at least $100 for small one day jobs.
12. Compose Spooky Music
In the weeks leading up to Halloween, all things grim, ghoulish and gothic enter the mainstream.
Composers can capitalize on this demand by producing downloadable Halloween music and sound effects to set the scary mood.
Sell tracks like zombies growling, werewolves howling, witches cackling, creaky doors, thunderstorms, screams and more.
List tracks individually on sites like SoundCloud and bundle collections across genres on your own site.
Price Range: $.99 to $2.99 per track.
For extra profits, offer custom jingles and mixing/mastering services!
13. Capture Halloween Photo Sessions
The weeks around Halloween yield perfect seasonal photo opportunities as families dress up and decorate.
As a photographer, market mini sessions to capture themed portraits of families showcasing their costumes and decor.
Provide suitable backdrops and decorations like pumpkins and haystacks to complete the photos‘ ambiance.
A 20-30 minute session with 15-20 edited digital photos can fetch $100-$250 per family, even in small towns. With smart marketing through social media and direct outreach, expect high demand!
14. Decorate Neighborhood Houses
While over three-quarters of consumers buy Halloween décor, many lack the time, ability and effort to decorate their own home exteriors and yards.
Offer professional decorative services focused on installing outdoor Halloween decorations like:
- Inflatable Figures
- Electronic Moving Props
- Lighting FX like Projectors
- Fog Machines
- Fake Gravestones and Corpses
- Giant Fake Spider Webs
- Pumpkins, Bales of Hay & Corn Stalks
Provide a few photos of your previous Halloween decor setups to showcase your signature style and close sales!
Pricing depends on the detail but aim to fetch at least $150 per house.
15. Craft Halloween Pet Apparel
As millennials delay parenthood, pets become "substitute children" with owners taking great joy in dressing them up!
Sell pet costumes and Halloween apparel on sites like Etsy and Amazon Handmade as well as consigning at local pet stores.
Think cute designs like pumpkin tutus, ghost bow ties, vampire capes, witch hats and zombie bandanas that pet owners will eat up!
Pet parents spend an average of $25 per costume. With smart social media marketing, this niche can become quite lucrative.
16. Prepare Thematic Gift Baskets
Help customers instantly get in the Halloween spirit by designing thematic gift baskets packed with frightfully delightful treats!
Source wholesale fall favorites like apple cider packs, pumpkin butter, candy corn, caramel apples, Halloween sprinkles and baking kits along with decorative filler accents like mini pumpkins and hay stacks.
Arrange goodies in festive baskets wrapped with cellophane and curly ribbon. List on sites like Etsy and promote through Facebook ads targeting women ages 30-60.
Price each basket between $50-$100 keeping your product costs around 30% to earn solid profits.
17. Work at a Pumpkin Farm Attraction
Local pumpkin farm attractions generate over $10 million per season in revenue across just a few weeks of operation. Staff runs everything from ticket booths to petting zoos making this a fun outdoor role for people persons.
If you love working seasonal gigs in fresh air and providing excellent customer service no matter how hectic things get, this could be a great opportunity.
Responsibilities vary by role with most paying $15 per hour. With many farms operating for the full month of October and into the first week of November, workers can net $1,000 or more.
Some pumpkin farm owners also share a portion of overall profits with their staff and invite them back the very next season. Once you have a role locked in, it can become fairly secure year after year!
So there you have it – 17 exciting ways to unleash your creativity, showcase your talents and generate income this Halloween season. From party planning to photography and carving pumpkins to craft making, small businesses will find no shortage of scary-good opportunities.
Halloween generates over $10 billion in consumer spend each year as people embrace costumes, candy, home decorations and seasonal fun.
Rather than splurging so much on Halloween, channel that spending towards starting your own venture whether through reselling costumes, carving pumpkins, providing makeup services, constructing haunted houses, baking creepy treats, hosting craft workshops or any number of ideas covered.
Today‘s digital landscape with sites like Etsy and Shopify make launching online businesses extremely accessible. As you test different seasonal concepts, keep track of profitability to determine which niche demonstrates the most potential for ongoing success.
For many small business owners just like yourself, a single Halloween venture has transformed into full-time shops spanning well beyond October. So tap into this flourishing season by following your passion and embracing one or more of the opportunities outlined above.
Here‘s to a scary-good Halloween season filled with frightful profits! Let me know if you have any other questions.