How You Can Be a Part of Halloween Town

jack-skellington-tim-burtons-nightmare-before-chrismas-posterLike Jack Skellington my cause marketing team lives in Halloween Town twelve months a year. No sooner is Halloween over and just like in the movie the Mayor of Halloween Town (aka Joanna MacDonald) is hustling through my door, arms full, with plans for next year's "big event."  This year is no different. But unlike Jack I haven't grown tired of the same old routine year in and year out. It's because every year Halloween Town has some new facet that keeps it interesting and challenging. This year it's the economy.

The good news is that we already have a number of great sponsors in place, including iParty, Valvoline Instant Oil Change, Zipcar, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Clif Bar, Hershey's, Energy Star, Uno's Chicago Grill and Citizen's Bank. We continue to work a number of solid leads, and just welcomed Fuddruckers aboard today!

But we're always brainstorming on how we can raise more money from Halloween Town. And that means involving YOU! Here's what we've come up with:

Nonprofit partnerships. We've taken the enlightened path of working with other nonprofits to raise money. It happened earlier this year when we worked with the nonprofit arm of the Boston Bruins, the Boston Bruins Foundation, on a point-of-sale program involving iParty and Fuddruckers. It raised $41,000, which will be presented to us by the Bruins Foundationduring a check presentation at the beginning of next season at the "Gahden."

We want to work with more nonprofits that have corporate and retail connections but are unsure how to leverage them--something we're really good at. Our team can create a cause marketing program, build-in benefits for the sponsor at Halloween Town and execute a flawless program. Then our two nonprofits can split the monies raised. Uneasy about splitting funds with another organization? We were too. But consider this. It's not money we would have been able to raise without each other. And, ultimately, 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

Host your fundraiser at Halloween Town. One thing we've always wanted to do at Halloween Town is have a Saturday night Halloween party that would use the sets we create each year for the event. But being a small team we're already stretched just organizing the two-day event. We're open to another nonprofit or group using Halloween Town after hours for their own wicked awesome Halloween Party. We have everything you need. You just need to supply the people, pay us a fee for using our space and you keep the rest having given folks a Halloween party they'll never forget.

For-profit partnerships. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Halloween Town just isn't for big sponsors and their "brandland" experience. Every year we have more and more sponsors starting at $1,000 and up participating the event. If you check out this link from last year, Halloween Town by the Numbers, you'll know why. Halloween Town offers an excellent demo of what I jokingly call the "four-legged, four-eye monster." Better known as mothers with kids. And with the average stay of the Halloween Town attendee around four hours, they are sure to connect with your product or service at some point. We've created a lot of layers to our sponsorships this year so there really is something for every business and every price point.

The colors of Halloween Town this year will be orange and GREEN! Of course, the traditional colors of Halloween are orange and black, but this year you'll see a lot of GREEN at Halloween Town. That's because as part of their Change the World Tour, Energy Star is bringing there super energy-efficient home exhibit to Halloween Town. But this just won't be any boring green home. Greeting you will be a haunted first family! It should be a lot fun and will encourage some additional sponsorship angles we couldn't explore in previous years.

So, what do you think of these ideas? I would appreciate your feedback on them and would love your input on other ideas that might work at Halloween Town. Also, if you have anything that might be of use to us at Halloween Town (e.g. a prop, a talent, an activity, an uncle who runs a candy factory or 3,000 pumpkins lying around your yard in October) let us know.

The foundation of Halloween Town is strong. Last year we had 41 sponsors and 15,000 attendees, up 15% from '07. It's an event that kids mark on their calendar and even moms and dads come dressed up!

But the challenges of the past year have made Halloween look a little more scary than it was. It's like trick-or-treating at the house on your street that everyone is afraid of. When you tip-toe up the stairs to ring the doorbell you want to make sure someone's got your back. There's strength in numbers. Who's going with me?

A few resources that will be helpful to you:

The 2009 Halloween Town Sponsorship Video

Halloween Town 2008 in Pictures

Halloween Town 2008 by the Numbers

Information on the Halloween Pin-Up Program

Interested in really talking turkey? Don't call me. Call Holt Murray, 617-414-2866, holt.murray@bmc.org. You can also find Holt on Twitter at @holtmurray. Be sure to tell him Jack Skellington sent you.