Halloween in the City

Date & Time
City centre Manchester


Following the success of the BID’s first celebration of Halloween, we hosted our own family-friendly festival (‘Halloweekend’) to attract visits and spend in the run-up to 31st October. And we showcased the range of events across the city, through a partnership brand campaign, using our ‘Bat’ visual and new digital creative elements to drive engagement.

Event Highlights

Halloween in the City saw Manchester awash with spooky decorations and pumpkin lanterns, while a mind-bending inflatable monster, courtesy of Bristol-based artist Filthy Luker, took over House of Fraser on Deansgate.

Come nightfall Manchester’s most iconic buildings including Manchester Town Hall, House of Fraser, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Manchester Central, National Football Museum, The Printworks, Renaissance Hotel, Hard Rock Cafe and Afflecks glowed a ghastly green.

Visitors were spooked by activities which included a city Trick or Treat Trail and Haunted Maze in St Ann’s Square. Many families dressed-up for the occasion, and for those who came unprepared, there were free Face Painting stations. And there was more fun at the Halloween Dog Parade – a canine catwalk.

Finishing off the weekend was a stunning Gothic Fashion Show as part of Manchester Metropolitan University’s Gothic Festival. Dress code was most definitely Black. The main stage in Exchange Square also screened everyone’s favourite Halloween family classics including Ghostbusters and a colourful, joyful, Day of the Dead-style travelling carnival danced its way down Market Street.

All this, plus party nights, events and offers from the biggest, baddest names in shopping, food and drink.

Retailer Activities

The Ghostbusters and Marshmallow Man appeared at Manchester Arndale and there were ghoulish goings-on in the windows of Primark and House of Fraser and makeovers at Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. And kids got crafty at Paperchase, Cath Kidston, Virgin Money, Pizza Hut and Bravissimo and there were complimentary treatments at Kiehls, The Body Shop and Neal’s Yard.

The city was awash with themed offers, events, displays, windows and products at Starbucks, The White Stuff, DKNY, Hotel Chocolat, M&S, Disney Store, Next, Office, Build-a-Bear, Phase Eight, Pizza Hut, Dune, The Perfume Shop, Accessorize, Bags etc, Greggs, HSBC, Supercuts, Jake Shoes, Links of London, Whittards, Wilko and Too Funky Hair.

Congratulations to our #Halloweekend competition winners too. The Best Dressed Window went to Paperchase, the Best Dressed Team was Lush and the Best Store Event was won by Kiehls.

Marketing and PR Campaign

The BID’s marketing, digital and PR campaign drove visitors to the event and retailers in partnership with Visit Manchester, Manchester City Council, TfGM Metrolink, Manchester Evening News, Capital FM, Heart FM, Mustard Media, Modern Designers and Echo PR.

The media value (AVE) reached more than £1.3 million in value. Footfall was up +10% across the BID district and +12% in Manchester Arndale across the Halloweekend v LY. Retailers reported up to +40% increase in sales over the weekend too.

Multi-media promotional activity:

  • What’s On listings portal at visitmanchester.com/halloween: 100,000 visits to the page
  • Visit Manchester digital advertising, blog posts and e-shots: 78,000 email recipients; 1.6million impressions on the paid campaign generating over 41,000 clicks; 100,000 organic social impressions delivered
  • Local, regional press and digital ads including via Manchester Evening News, Primary Times, Living Edge and a City Life editorial partnership: MEN media value AVE £12,284
  • Highway 96, 48, bridge and tower screens, drop banners and MI Guides via Manchester City Council partnership: media value AVE £86,000
  • Tram network advertising via Metrolink partnership including 6 sheet and A1 posters, covings and Market Street stop dressing: media value £82,000
  • 25,000 leaflets to promote what’s on to student and family markets; inc. door and hall drops
  • 5,000 ‘what’s on’ and Trick or Treat Trail maps for hand-to-hand over the weekend
  • 2 weeks of Capital FM 30” 2 co-branded trails & presenter talk ups, online page, e-shot, mixed display: on air impacts: 1,564,000; on air reach: 496,000 people, OTH: 3.2 times;  competition entries to win £500 shopping vouchers: 2,956 people. £12,000 media value AVE
  • Retail window vinyls, POS collateral, street signage, Halloween and Manchester BID flags
  • Social campaign via @/halloweenMCR channels including paid-for Facebook and Twitter ads: Facebook reach: 188,966, engagements: 52,127; Twitter reach: 311,017, engagements 12,532; Instagram engagements: 1,243
  • National, regional and local PR coverage: 147 pieces of coverage with £1.1million AVE across titles including Ch5 The Wright Stuff, CBBC Newsround, Daily Mirror, The Sun, Waitrose Magazine, Capital FM, Heart FM, Visit Manchester, Creative Tourist, I Love Manchester.
  • PR report: bit.ly/2hlhYQq

Photos and Video

Footfall and Sales Results

  • +10% increase in footfall across BID district, 2017 ‘Halloweekend’ v LY
  • +12% increase in footfall at Manchester Arndale, 2017 ‘Halloweekend’ v LY
  • Retailers reported up to +40% increase in sales v LY over ‘Halloweekend’

Thank you to our Manchester BID retailers for getting in the Halloween spirit with us. 

Read the success story in the Manchester Evening News.

Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s city centre spokesperson says: “I can’t remember a Halloween weekend as amazing as this. Truly one of the best – and scariest – celebrations we’ve ever had. Well done to everyone involved – it was spook-tacular!”

More information

For marketing information please email Siobhan McGoff
For media enquiries please email Anoushka Done at Echo PR
For event production enquiries please email events@cityco.com

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