As Halloween rivals Christmas and bank holidays in terms of its value to the pub industry these days, it's worth giving the occasion the attention it deserves.
Popping a tea-light into a hollowed-out pumpkin with triangles for eyes simply isn't going to cut it any more.
Instead, embrace the occasion and plan a party — the research shows it will be worth it for your bottom line. Heineken's Green Paper report last year revealed a petrifying party can deliver on average an incremental £452 more profit for outlets compared to a usual Friday or Saturday evening. One in every five 18 to 34-year-olds will be going out on Halloween and will spend 30 per cent more than the average late night customer.
"Halloween presents a significant opportunity for pubs and bars. Consumers are increasingly looking for experiences they can't get at home when going out for a drink, so licensees should consider how they can tap into this at Halloween," says Amy Burgess, senior trade communications manager at Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP).
"'Instagrammable' food and drink is a huge trend and pubs and bars can make the most of this at Halloween by creating special spooky cocktails and displays.
"This can be a great way to promote your bar and drive more footfall, with three-quarters of consumers reporting they have ordered a drink they have seen on social media. Venues should promote activities in the weeks leading up to Halloween to build anticipation and encourage people
Nicola Randall, senior marketing manager at Brothers Drinks Co, agrees.
"Over the last five years, Halloween has become an increasingly high-end affair as consumers look to continuously better their costumes, parties and celebrations, particularly those aged 18 to 34," she says.
"These consumers are constantly looking for new and exciting experiences, of which a niche offering and premium food and drink plays a huge part. This new breed of consumer requires pub operators to get creative and experiment with Halloween, in order to capitalise on the ever-growing market."
Although the scale of Halloween celebrations is relatively small in comparison with the US, the growth is expected to continue in coming years.
We're always keen to help you out, so here are a few ideas to ensure you have a spooktacular Halloween 2019 (sorry).
Strongbow and Hobgoblin are brands already closely associated with
Halloween and smaller brewers are also keen to get in on the action with seasonal and limited-edition ales, while tequila and Mezcal brands also see a sales boost at this time of year for those running Day of the Dead-themed parties. Keep an eye on trade.inapub.co.uk for all the latest launches or take a punt on serving some of these fangtastic drinks:
Jellied Gin Gimlet
200g McDougalls Lime Jelly Crystals
500ml Boiling water
50ml Fresh lime juice
Dissolve the jelly crystals in boiling water
and allow to cool, add the gin and lime and
chill until just set. Serve in either small shot
glasses or from a syringe for a more Halloween-themed feel.
Black Cat 25ml Vodka
25ml Blue Curacao
25ml Cranberry Juice
Lemonade to top
Wedge of lime to garnish
Fill a tall glass with ice and pour in the vodka and Blue Curacao. Stir well and top with lemonade, garnish with a lime wedge and serve.
The internet is awash with great ideas for making your own Halloween-themed dishes — deep fried worms (spiralised potato) or baked brains (cheese stuffed roasted onions), anyone? Or how about severed fingers in bandages, which is a great twist on pigs in blankets, suggests Premier Foods' executive chef, Mark Rigby. Use Paxo stuffing and sausage meat formed into a finger shape and wrapped in either McDougalls Pastry or McDougalls Pizza Base Mix.
Don't forget pudding either. Aryzta Food Solutions recently revealed some new products especially for the event, including a Halloween muffin, a scream lime pie and a toffee apple stack.
Research shows last year Brits spent £420m on Halloween-related goods, the company's marketing manager Paul Maxwell said, adding: "This new line-up is scarily good and gives operators a ready-made seasonal sweet bakery solution to satisfy both grab-and-go and eat-in requirements."