October 27, 2020
Inside: Show your commitment to the community by celebrating Halloween at your pharmacy.
Halloween during the coronavirus pandemic is going to look a lot different than it has in year’s past. But even though families will have to make some modifications, that doesn’t mean the holiday needs to be written off.
At your independent pharmacy, you can take advantage of this unusual season to make Halloween safe and fun for kids and families, all while promoting healthy habits and relevant pharmacy services. With some enthusiasm and creativity, you can use Halloween to be more active in your community, to engage more of your patients, and encourage more foot traffic in your store.
Here are a few ideas for how you can take advantage of the Halloween season, even during a pandemic.
Just because Halloween is going to look a little different this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get in the spirit.
Deck out your pharmacy with Halloween decorations. A prominent window display with a scarecrow or skeleton could attract the attention of someone who isn’t a current patient and entice them into the store for the first time.
On the inside of the pharmacy, touches of Halloween here and there can add to the ambiance. You can even add a soundtrack of witchy songs like “Monster Mash” or “I Put a Spell on You” to add to the mood.
Make sure that you have plenty of supplies in stock for patients, from plastic pumpkin candy buckets to fake spiderweb decorations to plenty of sweet treats. Make it easy for patients to knock out their Halloween season shopping while they are in the store picking up their prescriptions.
Many parents and families might be wary about participating in traditional house-to-house trick-or-treating this year because of COVID-19, but you can team up with other small businesses and organizations to make sure kids still have some spooky fun.
One idea is to sponsor a drive-in movie night in a local park. Families can come decked out in their Halloween costumes and enjoy a spooky (but not too scary) movie from the safety of their own vehicles.
You can also help organize a Halloween themed scavenger hunt with clues located in several local businesses. An event like this creates an opportunity to get new people into your pharmacy, and parents may end up buying items that they realized they need when they come in with their kids.
If you want to make sure kids still have the opportunity to trick-or-treat within a controlled environment, you can offer up your parking lot for a “trunk-or-treat” event, so kids can go from car to car collecting their spoils while skill keeping a safe distance.
For kid patients with limited mobility or conditions like diabetes and food allergies, Halloween has always been less fun. But now, with the pandemic, trick-or-treating is pretty scary for reasons other than frightening decorations.
Treat this unusual year as an opportunity to make Halloween more accessible to all patients. If you participate in a community trick-or-treat event, make sure to offer sugar-free candy, healthy snacks, or even small toys as an alternative to the traditional Snickers bar.
To ensure that Halloween is fun for as many kids as possible, make sure the fun and games don’t revolve around candy — or even in-person interaction. Offer up a coloring contest or a pumpkin carving contest with something fun from your front-end as a prize. Kids can participate from the comfort of their own home, then submit photos of their creations, and you can announce winners on your pharmacy’s social media page.
While collecting a bucket full of candy can be buckets of fun, it’s not the healthiest activity for kids, so make sure to remind your patients about healthy habits.
Leading up to Halloween, hand out educational materials with each purchase that educate patients on healthy candy consumption or being proactive about dental health, as well as best practices for trick-or-treating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a holiday where mask-wearing is the norm, seize the opportunity to educate patients about the benefits of wearing a face mask. Encourage parents to make a cloth face mask a part of their kids’ costume, and be sure to emphasize that a costume mask doesn’t provide the same safety benefits as a cloth face mask.
Whichever educational materials you decide to hand out, make sure they are branded with your pharmacy’s name and information. This will help your patients start to think of you as a go-to resource for health information.
And if you’re not sure what to cover, you can visit the CDC’s website for tips and ideas.
This year, more than ever, patients are relying on digital communication for interactions that might have otherwise happened in person. That’s why it’s especially important to market your Halloween efforts on your social media pages like Facebook and Instagram.
If you are participating in or hosting any special events, make sure you get the word out on your social media pages. You can also post about flash deals or sales on Halloween decor or candy. The health and safety tips you are providing your patients when they visit you in the store make for great content for your social pages as well.
Don’t forget to showcase the fun side of your pharmacy as well. Share photos of any decorations you’ve put up as well as snaps of your staff members getting in the holiday spirit and dressing up.
If kids come into your pharmacy decked out in costume in the days leading up to Halloween, take a photo and ask what they are looking forward to most about the holiday to share on your social media. Of course, ask their parents for permission before you post.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
PBA Health, an HDA member, operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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