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by Colleen Bottorff, ePly.com

When planning an in-person or virtual event, attendee engagement should always be top-of-mind. Any activities you plan should be a little bit strategic, moving you closer to the goal for hosting the event in the first place — that said, you want to make them FUN of course!

One easy way to engage your attendees is leaning into any timely holidays or traditions. Since Halloween is right around the corner, we thought we’d brainstorm a few ideas for adding some last-minute fun to an event this month — ideas so easy, it’s spooky:

1. Halloween movie viewing party. Who doesn’t love a good flick? You could go so far as to host a horror-movie marathon, or if the event is family-friendly, everyone loves classics like Hocus Pocus or The Nightmare Before Christmas.

2. Pumpkin carving contest. A tried and true October activity. If carving isn’t a good option for your event, pumpkins can easily be painted and decorated, too!

3. Costume contests. Let attendees get creative, or come up with a theme that has to do with your event. Are kids or pets involved? Let them in on the fun, too!

4. Trick-or-treating. You don’t even need houses — use cars for a “trunk” or treat event, or in an online setting, attendees could visit individual Zoom links and answer a trivia question to earn prizes or points toward a prize.

5. Ghost stories. Telling stories in an engaging and compelling way is a surefire way to captivate your attendees. If you aren’t sure which stories to tell or aren’t confident telling them, contact your local library for suggested books and storytellers!

6. Make (and decorate) “witch hands”. Treats are the MOST fun around Halloween. For this activity, all you or your attendees will need are:

  • Clear plastic gloves
  • Popcorn to fill them with (plus, if you like, candy corn for the nails!)
  • Pipe cleaners or something similar to tie it closed
  • Halloween rings and other fun decor

If this is a virtual event, be sure to send instructions and a list of materials out to attendees ahead of time or it could be included in an event kit you send out ahead of time! You might even make it a contest to encourage participation.

7. Photo contest. With leaves changing and fun decorations all around, Fall is the perfect time to host a photo contest. Give it a theme that relates to your event and an easy way for attendees to submit their entries, and you’re good to go!

8. Haunted house. Or car, or desk space, or virtual background — whatever it may be, announce the activity in advance so attendees have time to REALLY get creative with their spooky space.

Take these basic ideas and make them unique to your event and attendees, and it will surely be a splash! They won’t take much added work to plan or execute the day of, and a refreshing touch that’ll energize and engage attendees.


You might also enjoy reading the following blogs:

Podcasts for Event Planners

Resilience in Events

Event Consulting for Virtual Events

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