Email best practices

Create eye-catching Halloween email subject lines: Tips & examples

Can't think of any Halloween email subject lines? Fear not - we’ll show you some inspiration and techniques to increase open rates including A/B testing.

Hermes scared of his own reflection

Shock and horror – you're sending out a Halloween-themed email campaign but can't think of any good subject lines... The scariest part? 47% of your audience open emails judged on your subject line alone. 

Fear not - we’ve got you covered. 

Here, we’ll show you some shockingly good Halloween email subject lines from your industry and share our secret recipe for higher open rates. Then, we’ll head to the lab, run through some A/B tests, and discover why data should decide your Halloween-style subject line. You can come out from under the bed now.

21 eye-catching Halloween subject lines

You have around 40 characters to convince your reader to open an email. No pressure.

Knowing your audience is key. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to email subject lines, but you can definitely draw inspiration from what other brands are doing. 

Get your creative juices flowing with these email subject line examples from different industries. 

Ecommerce & retail

Everyone loves a “spooktacular deal.” Online shops are in a prime position to offer scary savings and Halloween flash sales. Sometimes, a short mysterious message is enough to pique a reader's curiosity. Or, you could be cheeky and ask the reader a direct question - come on, what are you scared of? 

Check out these creative Halloween subject lines from ecommerce and retail brands:

  1. Club Kiddo - Boo Ya!

  2. Paper Source - Get These Spooktacular Best Sellers Before They Ghost!

  3. Motif - Trick OR Treat? Why not both? 👻

  4. Crate And Barrel - All treats, no tricks.

  5. RIFLE PAPER Co - Send Your Boos Some Love?

  6. Etsy - Practically Magic

  7. Yellowmoon.org.uk - A frightfully good offer – up to 50% off Halloween costumes

Tech

Larger tech companies generally want to be perceived as thought leaders, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a geeky side too. They might not take it as far as ecommerce businesses, but tech brands also know how to get into the Halloween spirit. 

Here are some Halloween subject lines for the tech industry:

  1. Pinterest - Your Guide To Carving Pumpkins

  2. Grammarly - A Happy Halloween Quiz from Grammarly

  3. Email Monks - Witching You Happy Halloween

  4. WeTransfer - Pumpkin spice and all things (not) nice

In comparison, startups are trying to be seen as less corporate and will get away with a more “buddy-buddy” vernacular.

Food & spirits

A Halloween party is nothing without Halloween treats. Tempt your customers this season with tantalizing offers or content they can’t refuse. From trick or treating to parties and movie gatherings, make it clear there are savings to be made in your subject line. Recipe guides are another very popular method to attract users into your email. 

Get Halloween subject line ideas from some top food and spirits brands:

  1. FitOn - 👻 3 Scary Good Meals to Die For 💀

  2. Dunkin Donuts - Click Your Treat and Earn 3X Points

  3. Cadbury - 15% Off All Ghoulish Goodies

  4. Betty’s - Double, double toil and trouble

  5. Land O’Lakes - 👻 Ghoul, treat yourself with these recipes

  6. Blue Apron - Forget the candy, this deal is the sweetest one yet!

Entertainment

The battle for our attention is fierce around Halloween and you only have one seventh of a Tweet to work with. Curiosity is your best weapon, but that doesn’t mean going too vague or your email will just sound generic. The best email subject lines tease out content. Use imperative words like “see”, “fall into”, or “go” to encourage readers to open the email.

Draw inspiration from these Halloween subject lines from some top entertainment brands:

  1. Disney+ - See what’s screaming — er, streaming!

  2. Vimeo - Fall into these sweet new features!

  3. Universal Orlando Resort - Go Behind the Screams

Finance

After the last credit card statement, nobody expects another scary email from their bank. As a trusted institution, it’s best to tread carefully with your subject line. You don’t want to be seen as suspicious and marked as spam. Make sure your subject line clearly states the matter at hand - with Barclaycard, it’s fraud. 

Source

Finally, adding some personalization to your subject line conveys trust, don’t you think, Mr Krueger? 

How to write a killer Halloween email subject line

So, we've seen the best of the best. But what exactly makes these headlines fit for Halloween? 

Get creative with your tone of voice

The holidays are a time of fun and joviality, so take this opportunity to get creative. While writing your subject line, keep in mind that people love authenticity and fun, but be mindful not to stray away from the anchor that is your brand voice. If your brand voice is human and approachable, then avoid overbearing or indecisive wording.

Take advantage of puns (Hallow-queen) and wordplay (All treats, no tricks) to set the stage for your email content and tap into the mystery and intrigue of Halloween by choosing out-the-box vocabulary like “enchanting”, “magical”, and “potion”.

Even mega corporates get in on the fun

If your brand voice allows so, you can also go wild with punctuation, including exclamations for excitement and question marks to challenge your reader. Emojis bring color and fun to people's inboxes, tempting their cursor to take a look. Don’t abuse them, though – keep it to one to two emojis. 

Use marketing psychology to increase open rates

Halloween comes but once a year, so advertise your Halloween sale as “last chance”, creating a feeling of scarcity (or FOMO) in the reader. Your Halloween deals can tie in nicely with a countdown to Halloween marketing campaign. For instance, you could send “One week until…” or “3 days until…” emails to remind your subscribers they are running out of time.

Caption: Paper Source - Get These Spooky Best Sellers Before They Ghost!

As always, character length is key. Aim for no more than 40 characters to avoid being cut off by Hotmail, Live, and Yahoo Mail clients. There is evidence to suggest that shorter punchier subject lines can improve open rates. However, every audience is different. The only way to truly know your reader's appetite is to A/B test a variety of subject lines to determine the winner. 

Similarly, highlighting the value proposition of an email can improve open rates significantly. Don't get lost in wishy-washy Halloween lingo; tell the reader why they should open the email. Whether it's discounts, free gifts, ideas, or advice, make it clear in the subject header.

If you prefer to save the value proposition for your email body, try something short, mysterious, and punchy like this email from Etsy and use the preheader to complement your subject line. 

Source

Make it personal with contact properties

Personalize your campaign with contact properties. Nothing grabs your attention more than hearing your own name. Your ears perk up; it's a reflex response.

Yet, many marketers still don't personalize email marketing, giving you the competitive edge if you do. Go further by segmenting your subscriber lists into categories like age and gender. Put yourself in their shoes and adapt your tone of voice for that person.

Avoid the dreaded spam folder

Spam is such a dirty word that we should really call it s***. There are some misconceptions regarding subject line spam words – no, there’s no secret list out there that will take you straight to the spam folder – but certain terms can be deceiving and tend to get lower engagement and higher-than-normal complaint rates. Just think of all those emails promising a “free” gift. How many of those were actually “free”?

If your sender reputation and email engagement are high, the content of your subject lines probably won’t land your email in spam folders. But if your sender reputation and email engagement are low and you talk like a spammer, chances are you won’t land in the inbox. Spam is a complex and ever-changing subject, so check out our definitive guide on how to avoid spam filters.

Utilize software testing to polish your copy

When you have done everything you can, turn to robots for help. Try running your subject line(s) through an email subject line tester to see how it performs. Once your robot gives you the green light, run the copy through email preview software to preview emails on all devices and clients. 

A/B test your Halloween subject line to success

At this point, you may have the most original and engaging subject line to grace the email space. But without A/B testing, we won’t know for sure. Let the audience decide what they like and dislike.

A/B testing is the practice of sending a variety of different subject lines to 20 - 35% of your audience. The winning subject line, which will be sent to the remainder of your list, is decided by the highest open rate. 

Here are some A/B test ideas for your Halloween email subject lines:

  • Long vs. short subject lines

  • Subject lines with and without personalization

  • Subject lines with and without emojis

  • Negative Statements, questions and exclamations

  • FOMO vs. clickbaity subject lines

  • Vague vs. straightforward subject lines

  • Subject lines promising discounts or generating a sense of urgency

A/B testing is OK. A/B/C/D/E/F/G testing is better. That’s why Mailjet's A/B testing feature allows you to test up to 10 versions of an email subject line simultaneously. Try a combination of the techniques mentioned above to create subject line variations for testing. 

You could try 10 small variations of the same subject line. Or you could go with 10 totally different ideas altogether.  

There are limitless options when it comes to A/B testing – master the art with our “Definitive guide to A/B tests”.

Create Halloween email marketing campaigns with Mailjet

It's that time of year to celebrate Halloween, go trick or treating, and get creative. However, between email design, A\B testing, and subscriber list segmentation – there's not enough time in the year. 

Mailjet's intuitive and collaborative email platform comes packed with tons of treats to help with those troublesome details. Tools like the A/B Testing feature automatically discovers the best-performing headline and completes the campaign for you.

You can spend less time with the troublesome details and more time writing that killer subject line. We'll look out for your email in our inbox soon! 

Mailjet

A/B test up to 10 subject lines with Mailjet

Create and send your Halloween campaigns with Mailjet. Benefit from our intuitive drag-and-drop email builder, advanced marketing features, and great email deliverability.

Have you created a killer subject line? Maybe you found a pretty cool headline in your inbox? Send them to us on Twitter and we might feature it here! 

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