10 Fun Ways to Halloween-ify Your WordPress Site

Halloween is one of the best times of year to shake things up and have some fun. If you love this time of year as much as I do, then you’ve already decorated your house and office with cobwebs, candy bowls, and crazy-spooky characters. But who says spreading the Halloween spirit needs to stop there?

If you run a WordPress website, there’s never been a better time or an easier way to “trick” out your site Halloween-style. (Or to start planning how to dress it up for the other approaching holidays, if Halloween doesn’t do it for you.)

There are more than enough tools you can use to Halloween-ify your WordPress website this year. Mind you, a complete overhaul isn’t necessary in order to pull this off. Sometimes it’s the smallest touches that work the best!

Whether you prefer to trick your visitors or give them a treat this Halloween, any extra effort you put into Halloween-ifying your site is sure to get you noticed – and potentially earn you an extra look.

Here are just some of the ways you can add the perfect hint of Halloween to your WordPress website.

#1: Update Your Logo à la Google

We all know what Google’s logo looks like. It’s simple, clean, and colorful. But every now and again—usually around a major holiday or event—Google will switch things up and throw up a temporary logo design for our viewing pleasure. Halloween is one of those special occasions.

Google updates its logo every year for Halloween.
Google updates its logo every year for Halloween.

While you might not be able to pull off a full redesign of your logo like Wes Craven did for Google in 2008, you can make smaller alterations to it in the spirit of Halloween:

  • Change the color scheme to include orange, black, or a blood red.
  • Swap out a letter for a Halloween icon that resembles the original letter (“o” and “i” are always good ones).
  • Use a font or new letter styling that looks like your favorite Halloween movie’s title screen.

Tools to Use: If you used a design program like Photoshop or Illustrator to create your logo, you can use it now to get really funky with this. If you don’t have one, Canva is a free and easy-to-use design tool.

#2: Alter Your Theme’s Color Scream (Scheme)

Earlier this year, I wrote about the psychology of color in website design. Color consideration is something you carefully plot out and define when first developing your brand’s color palette. But when it comes to holidays like Halloween, it’s okay to throw some of those rules out the window.

Luckily for us, WordPress themes make it easy to update color settings. So if you want to change your font colors, your theme’s background, or even the colors of your calls-to-action, go for it. Just make sure they don’t clash too much against the surrounding color palette and imagery. You want to give your visitors a startle–not a total fright.

Tools to Use: Most WordPress themes allow you to make updates to your color palette—that you can see reflected on your site in real time—within the Appearance > Customize panel.

#3: Go Spooky with Your Font

Again, when it comes to something so ingrained in your brand’s identity like a font, it can be tough to break away from your pre-defined styles. However, with plenty of free fonts available online, this is a fun (and temporary) way to give your site a subtle hint of Halloween.

When it comes to changing up your fonts for Halloween, remember that less is more. Many of the fonts that look cool for Halloween are a tad dramatic, so try to relegate these to header text on your website—or in specific locations, like pop-ups, calls-to-action, and hero images.

Add a spooky font to your site for a bit of fun!
Add a spooky font to your site for a bit of fun!

Tools to Use: There are many free fonts available that all claim to be “scary,” “spooky,” or straight-up “Halloween.” To help get you started, I’ve picked the ones that are simple and clean enough to still look professional, while offering a unique twist on the typical Halloween-style font:

#4: Vamp Up Your Social Icons

The devil is in the details, right? For those of you with a heavy social media presence, it would make sense to give your site’s social icons some extra character. Think about it: if you know your site’s visitors will head over to your social links to share content or follow your page, this is the perfect place to add a touch of Halloween.

Using Halloween inspired designs for your social media icons are another way to Halloween-ify your website.
Using Halloween inspired designs for your social media icons are another way to Halloween-ify your website.

Tools to Use: Use free Halloween icons from the web (see more on that below) to custom-design your own social icons or you could use pre-made ones like these pumpkin vectors.

The Easy Social Icons plugin will enable you to upload those icons into WordPress and swap them out for the standard ones on your site.

#5: Make a 404 Error Even Scarier

Obviously, you don’t ever want someone to encounter a broken link on your site. But, if it should ever happen, why not give them an entertaining 404 page to land on?

Why not change up your 404 page to feature a spooky design?
Why not change up your 404 page to feature a spooky design?

Tools to Use: I’m a big fan of this animated 404 page available on ThemeForest. It’ll cost you a couple bucks, but I think it’s worth it if you want to give your lost visitors a random spook.

#6: Grab Your Visitors’ (Attention) Before They Leave

Let’s say, hypothetically speaking, a visitor was thinking about leaving your website without taking any action (gasp!). You’d want one more opportunity to grab their attention and at least get an email address before they jump ship, right?

Why not take this opportunity to add an exit-intent, newsletter opt-in message to your site? With most plugins these days, you can change the colors, fonts, animation, and other settings to whatever you want, so this would be easy to update as a new holiday approaches.

Tools to Use: When you want to make that last-ditch effort count, use the WPMU DEV Hustle plugin.

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#7: Create Seasonal Content

If you’re already in the habit of writing content for your website and social media regularly, throw in some Halloween-inspired or seasonal topics, too.

An example of this would be… well, I guess, this post. But your Halloween-related content doesn’t have to be an educational roundup. If you want to go for pure entertainment, do it! Perhaps you run a website that sells children’s shoes. If that were the case, you could write a blog post about the scariest kids to ever hit the silver screen (and then recommend the shoes they should wear if they want to catch the adults they’re chasing more quickly).

Tools to Use: Your imagination. And IMDB is a big help if you want to write about movies.

#8: Run a Halloween Promotion

If you’re in a giving mood this Halloween, how about running a special Halloween offer for your visitors? Here are just some promotion types to consider:

  1. Contests: Invite your site’s visitors and social media followers to share their Halloween photos. The photos should be related to your business, demonstrate their Halloween spirit, and include your handle and promotional hashtag.
  2. Surveys: Create a new survey or poll on your website. The question/subject doesn’t need to be related to your business, so long as it gets your visitors interested and willing to take time out to interact with you on this holiday.
  3. Special Deals: Use strategic pop-ups on your website to advertise secret promotional offers for Halloween-related products or services. This would be similar to the exit-intent newsletter pop-up, but would be more focused on Halloween deals.

There are a few things to keep in mind before launching any special promotion:

  • How will you deliver the message on your site?
  • Who will you target?
  • What service or product will this support?
  • What is the actual deal/discount?
  • How will you monitor for the participants or winners?
  • When will the deal or offer take place?
  • Are there any restrictions on eligibility?

Once you’ve sorted the details out, use the following tools to launch your promotion.

Tools to Use: Try the WPMU DEV Popup Pro or Slide-In plugins to produce well-timed, strategically placed, and fun-looking announcements around your website.

#9: Play Hide-and-Seek

Want to have a little fun with your visitors? Consider hiding Halloween-related imagery around your website. If someone happens to stumble upon the random, spooky icons, they can click them open and receive a special “treat” of your choosing.

Smashing Magazine has some fantastic hand drawn spooky icons.
Smashing Magazine has some fantastic hand drawn spooky icons.

Tools to Use: If you’ve got a specific style of icon or character set you want to use, a simple Google search should help you find what you’re looking for. If you want some inspiration, check out the following free sets of icons that would look great hidden around your site:

#10: Encourage Trick-or-Treating

Even if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar shop, you can still offer customers and other passers-by the opportunity to trick-or-treat on your website on Halloween.

Young or old, everyone loves the thrill of going from porch to porch to gather up their treats. You can recreate that feeling of “Is this going to be another toothbrush-and-toothpaste kind of stop?” or “Jackpot! I got a super-sized Milky Way!” by advertising your trick-or-treat event ahead of time. Then watch as the visitors pass through on Halloween to discover the “treat” you’re offering.

Tools to Use: Social media is a good place to start promoting this special on-site event. And for the people who already come to your website, you’ll want to have promotional messages in place either directly on the site or in pop-up messages.

Once you’ve got the messaging established, figure out what sort of treat you’re going to offer (a site-wide discount or free giveaway would be neat). Then find the right tool to make it easy to process the treat. The WooCommerce Bulk Discount plugin is a good one to use if you’re offering a Halloween-only discount.

Trick or Treat?

So there you have it. Ten ways you can keep visitors on their toes and have them pay more attention to your brand—simply by adding a little Halloween flavor to your website.

Brenda Barron
Now over to you: Who is your favorite scary movie villain and why? Have you decked out your site for Halloween yet? Tell us in the comments below.