This season, we have home games on the night of Halloween and on Christmas Eve day. We've begun working on ideas to create themed activations on our suite levels for these two games. If you've hosted a game on Halloween or Christmas Eve, can you please share any signage, contests, or gift ideas that were successful and appreciated by your clients and guests?
We bring in Santa. He walks through our suites to hand out candy canes to the kids. On the concourse, we set him up in a big chair in an open area, and the kids can come visit him. It's very well received.
For Halloween, we do trick or treating in the suites. We started doing it in 2009, when we had a night game on Halloween. It's a huge hit, and as long as we have a game within one week of Halloween, we do it. I reach out to the suite holders, and if they want to participate, we decorate their doors and put a big bowl of candy in their suites. We don't decorate inside the suites, and the doors have simple decorations because we don't have the time or budget. Some suite holders do their own decorations inside their suites, which we love too.
We have 119 suites and get participation from about 70 suites per year. Some of the adults have gotten really into it, and they'll wear at least partial costumes. The kids will show up in regular clothes and then change into costume right before halftime.
We restrict trick or treating to pregame and halftime, so kids aren't going into other suites during the game. We see very little participation during pregame because our suite holders come in pretty slowly. But during halftime, it looks like a neighborhood on Halloween night. Yes, weâ€™re creating a sugar high, but itâ€™s worth it for one game a year. The kids love it, and itâ€™s really awesome.
My staff and I wear costumes. Some of my staff grumble about wearing a costume, but it's the one game a year they can wear whatever they wantâ€”as long as it's work appropriate.
We provide the candy, and I basically buy out Wal-Mart the week of the game! I usually spend about $1,200 to make sure we don't run out. Whatever is left, our marketing staff takes to the downtown Halloween parade and party, and distributes there.
On a holiday, we will provide fun complimentary treats (that we typically purchase from Levy) like holiday-themed cakes, cookies, snacks, champagne, etc.
For Halloween and New Year's, we'll put out fun party items for guests to wear in the suites, most of which we purchase in bulk from Oriental Trade Company. While most of our suites are corporate, we find that guests of all ages and demographics like the fun and festivity of it. If anything, it just serves as a fun bit of extra decor and celebration that guests have access to.
We'll also do complimentary hot cocoa cart deliveries for a game around Christmas and setup a complimentary Mimosa bar on our lower suite level on New Year's. At Christmas, we've also sent a roaming Santa around to suites for photos for those interested.
I have never done this, but I think a Secret Santa with suite holders might be kind of cool. Set a max price, try to make it a gift to keep in the suite, and it would give suite holders on each level a chance to network more.
For Christmas, we place a tray of decorated cut-out cookies in the suites with a note from the premium staff. The last two years, we have had carolers in costume. Believe it or not, this is a huge hit.
Halloween game ideas that have been successful for us include filling the suites with candy/goodie bags for each suite guest (limited to lease holders). We provided candy buckets (pumpkins filled with candy) to all of our concierge and service staff to hand out when greeting and directing guests. And building-wide, we had a costume competition. The best costume won tickets to an upcoming game.
A couple of years ago, I did trick or treating in one section of suites pregame, which was pretty successful. I hired some part-time staff to hand out candy at each suite door (12 total) in case the suite owner wasn't there early enough. I also bought plastic pumpkins for every suite and filled them with candy. That was definitely a hit.
We have a Christmas Eve game this year as well. I was going to try to get Santa there to do some suite visits and have a couple hot chocolate stations throughout the suite levels.