Inbox Hero - Jon May

Email Marketing Expert and author of 'Send Better Emails'

Spooktacular email marketing needs to get in the bin πŸ‘»πŸŽƒβ˜ οΈπŸ¦‡

"Check out our terrifyingly good deals"

TL;DR: Don't jump on the holiday bandwagon unless it makes sense to you and your brand.

Right, we need to have a chat about Halloween. Specifically, the need for brands who it makes no sense for, doing it - or being done half-heartedly.

It'll be pretty difficult for a funeral director to tastefully pull off an email opening: "Our ghostly deals are dead good", but probably easy for a whiskey distillery with a spirit(ual) theme.

The best (and worst) subject lines I've seen so far:

  • Pumpkin spice and all things (not) nice
  • So delicious it’s scary…
  • Get These Spooky Best Sellers Before They Ghost!
  • Forget the candy, this deal is the sweetest one yet!
  • Happy Halloween! 33% off our spookiest styles
  • πŸŽƒ Celebrate Halloween with our terrifyingly good offers

Don't be dull

The most mediocre example of Halloween advertising comes from East Midlands Trains, who in 2017 ran an email starting: "No tricks, just treats for you".

Cringing already, the email opened:

Whether it’s London or Sheffield – pocket the pennies this Halloween by booking direct at And with no scary booking fees, you can spend your savings on some treats instead.

Now, the first thing that came to mind, as I'm sure it would have done to all who have ever used the British rail system, was to think:

The only treat would be if the bloody train turned up on time!

But criticisms of the privatisation of British Rail aside, the email was designed exactly the same as all the others, there was no special deal, just the same old newsletter.

It only stuck out in my mind in a way to not do it!

Go all in

Halloween email marketing is like going out for a night on the town: Go hard, or go home.

Don't lean into a bit - go all out. Puns, pumpkin emojis, the lot.

Hotel Chocolat's email opens with this eye-catching (sorry, had to!) image:

Having created some products for the holiday season, they show how you can use them in cocktails, food and showcase their gory interior:

Greggs took an interesting route, promoting its pumpkin spiced latte without mentioning Halloween at all, proving you can still do good marketing without having to shoehorn in a festive holiday:

This Halloween, when sending out your emails:


  • Consider whether you should do Halloween - does it fit for your brand?
  • Think about do you have a product created especially for the holiday?
  • Create a different template - make it visually appealing and striking. Be creative!


  • Half-arse it - Go all out, puns emojis and all! πŸ‘»πŸŽƒβ˜ οΈπŸ¦‡
  • Do it if it's not right for you. It's not for everyone, and don't feel pressured because everyone else seems to be doing it.