Halloween has become a $10 billion enterprise in the United States, according to the website 24/7 Wallstreet, with alcohol consumption rising by over 20 percent for the holiday. Your bar deserves a piece of that revenue. Do more than simply staging a traditional costume contest. Make a full week out of Halloween celebrations at your bar with creative and clever games.
Put a spin on the old apple bobbing tradition by hosting an apple bobbing relay race. Teams of four compete in a Halloween-themed obstacle course. The first contestant bobs an apple from a barrel, runs to the first station and hands the apple off to a teammate, as both use only their mouths to hold and pass the apple. This continues until the final station, where the last person drops the apple from her mouth into a wicker basket. The team with the best time wins. Use plastic pumpkin trick-or-treat baskets instead of orange cones to outline your relay course. Give bar tabs for first, second and third prizes.
Give a Halloween twist to open-mic night by sponsoring a ghost story contest. Give prizes to the scariest and funniest stories, using either the audience or a panel of judges to make the selections. Set-up is easy; you only need a working microphone for the storytellers. If you have a DJ, he can play Halloween music and sound effects as storytellers recount their ghoulish tales.
Use the open-mic concept to enliven costume contests, which often include a long, boring wait during the judging. Keep your patrons engaged with a screaming contest. As judges deliberate, invite people to step up to the microphone and give their best Halloween horror movie scream. Whoever draws the biggest audience reaction wins a small prize, like a free drink. Give prizes for funniest and scariest screams.
Create a list of 21 horror movie trivia questions. Have four rounds of five questions. Save your most difficult question in case you need it for a tie breaker. Print plenty of copies of the questions, and don't forget to have enough pencils and pens on hand for your bar patrons playing the game. To make the event really professional looking, prepare the questions using a graphics presentation program, and broadcast the questions to TV screens at the bar. If you're technologically savvy, incorporate Halloween music as well as video clips to support your trivia questions.
Award 10 points for every correct answer, and give the teams updates on point standings between each round. Some bars include bonus questions between rounds, awarding a free shots for the team that answers quickest. At the end of the game, give out prizes to the top three teams such as cash or free bar tabs.
Keep the festivities going with a few simple games that patrons can play by interacting with your bar staff. Place a target, such as a plastic pumpkin trick-or-treat basket, behind the bar, in an area that is easy to sweep up after. Offer bar patrons three pieces of candy corn for a dollar. If they can make the target two out of three times, using the candy corn, they win a prize. Alternatively, place a big jar of candy corn on the bar, and invite people to guess how many pieces of candy corn are in it. Charge a dollar per guess; the winner gets all of the money you've collected. This is a great game to play with your regulars, over a week's time.