Trick or treat? Frighteningly effective Halloween stunts, pranks and campaigns

Published on 18 October 2017

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Halloween stunt

With Halloween around the corner, check out our 5 favourite Halloween stunts from 2016

Brands love to use public holidays for pop-up activations and experiential events, and Halloween is no different. Traditionally big in the US, we Brits have become increasing receptive of Halloween. Data from Verdict shows that the UK retail spend for 31 October will hit £472m this year, up from £460m and £442m in 2016 and 2015 respectively. It’s a perfect occasion for brands to create something really fun and immersive, so here’s our favourite spooky Halloween stunts from 2016, and some you can experience this year. Happy Halloween!

Burger King ghost costume 

Burger King decided to have some fun with its fast food foe by dressing up a restaurant in New York as a McDonald’s, to land the fact that Burger King flame-grills its burgers as opposed to frying them.

A giant ghostly sheet costume covered the entire BK restaurant, featuring the McDonald’s logo, yellow eyebrows resembling the golden arches, and the Burger King logo revealed through the ghost’s eyeholes. The signature Whopper burgers were also in costume: custom-made boxes resembling those of the Big Mac.

In just a few hours, the internet and the media took over, spreading the idea like the fire Burger King uses to flame-grill its burgers, proving that there’s nothing scarier than a fried burger.

Burger King – The Scariest BK from Casal Peña on Vimeo.

Jagermeister’s Zombie Takeover

Jägermeister has capitalised on the spooky weekend for a number of years with its “Zombie Takeover” Halloween stunts that have been promoted socially with #JagerZombie. The liqueur firm teamed with the likes of London Cocktail Club and Walkabout last year to get its drink down the throats of even more fancy-dressed customers and become the Halloween spirit of choice. Complementing this push for retail sales, the company posted a number of videos online, including one offering insight into a day in the death of a zombie…

Airbnb’s night in Dracula’s Castle

Halloween is the season for haunted houses. And who better to play into this heart-stopping tradition than a home-rental giant? Building on last year’s Halloween stunt of a night in Paris’ catacombs, Airbnb couldn’t resist a campaign that allowed guests the chance to spend the night in Dracula’s Castle. Hosted by Dacre Stoker, the great grandnephew of Dracula author Bram Stoker, the competition winners received a night’s stay at Bran Castle in Transylvania on Halloween itself. Widely shared, there were more than 5000 conversations on social media discussing the campaign according to social media monitor, Meltwater.

Hungry Jack’s ‘Scarily Good’ drive-thru prank

Hungry Jack’s, Australia’s Burger King, teamed up with their drive-thru customers to surprise their unsuspecting fellow passengers and have them jump out of their seats. The purpose of the campaign was to promote their limited edition Whopper, featuring a Jack ‘O’ Lantern-inspired bun with cheddar cheese. As part of a nationwide campaign across 400 Hungry Jack’s restaurants across Australia, videos of the stunts were posted online and animated social posts used to promote the Halloween-themed burger.

Budweiser’s haunted fancy dress shop

This year, Budweiser is launching a haunted fancy dress shop as its 2017 Halloween stunt.

Called The King of Fears, the pop-up shop on Old Street is both a haunted house and fancy dress shop with mirror tricks and haunted clothes rails.

There will be a DJ and a free Budweiser for everyone that makes a purchase. The pop-up is part of Bud’s Halloween campaign which includes a Nightmare Circus Halloween Party with a DJ set from Foals.

Budweiser's King of Fears pop-up Halloween stunts