Autumn is full upon us, and Halloween fans are already well into the full swing of the holiday. This can present a great opportunity to capitalize on the spooky season and give fans exclusive holiday-themed merch offers! ______________________________ Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix Special edition and limited-run merchandise can engage fans and bring in extra cash as the end of year holiday shenanigans begin. October is here, which means spooky season has officially begun. In just over four weeks people everywhere will celebrate Halloween. You can tell me Christmas is the best holiday, but just know that doing so would prove how little you know about Halloween. October 31st is the only day of the year where self-expression and all the creative possibilities it entails are openly celebrated. For one short period, everyone is welcomed (and encouraged) to be themselves. There’s also candy. In short, everyone wins during Halloween. Musicians can leverage America’s love of Halloween for personal through smart marketing and limited edition merch. Those needing proof of this need only look to the biggest brands on the planet. Target, Wal-Mart, and Amazon have all dedicated space to Halloween themed merchandise, as have countless other chains. They may have “terrifyingly low prices” or “ghoulish offers,” but varying puns aside, the idea is always the same. The everyday products being sold are changed for the holiday as well, with everyone from Yankee Candles to the makers of Twix trying to cater to seasonal shoppers. I recently purchased hand soap that has a seasonal theme! Halloween is the perfect time to release limited-edition merchandise. Not only does this give your core audience the chance to purchase something special, but it provides you the opportunity to express yourself in new ways. You can try your hand at large prints or scary prints, with beanies or socks. Halloween merch is as merch a treat for your fans as it is a treat for you, the creative people tasked with keeping an audience engaged all year long. Chicago’s Real Friends understand how to make great Halloween merch. As with any item sold, the key to getting a strong response from seasonal merchandise is executing a great idea people will be unable to overlook. As you see in the example above, the possibilities are seemingly endless as far as approaches to Halloween merch are concerned, so take that as a sign that creativity is encouraged. Find something you love about this season or something about this season you feel reflects your music, and use it to create something unique your fans can cherish forever. A few key things to remember: Do not steal anyone’s design/copyrighted materials. Doing so could result in legal troubles whose costs far outweigh any benefit associated with seasonal merchandise. Order your product in time for it to ship before Halloween. Receiving a Halloween-themed shirt in the middle of November or December doesn’t really do anyone any good. Fans won’t wear it, and worse – they probably won’t order seasonal merch from you again. Think and plan ahead. Targeted marketing helps. No one likes paying Facebook to reach their fans, but doing so can help sell new/limited merch items. Even as little as $5 can double, if not triple, the reach of your average post. As the saying goes, “You have to spend money to make money.” Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Want to make seasonal merch, but don’t know what to offer? Ask your fans. They’re the ones who will ideally be buying whatever you create, so you might as well ask them what they want and do your best to meet their demands. Turkey merch is not a thing. While you might be able to leverage Halloween, Christmas, and even Valentine’s Day for merch sales, Thanksgiving doesn’t create the same market. You can try, but you will more than likely fail. James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.