Halloween Costumes and Trade Show Displays: The Surprising Similarities



By Lisa Shackelford, Marketing Coordinator at FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

The end of October is an exciting time of year in my household. Pumpkins are carved, the aroma of hot cider fills the air and the fall foliage starts to create an orange and yellow blanket on my front yard. One of my most treasured fall traditions is the selection of Halloween costumes for my dogs.



Every year, our Coonhound Dulce has been donning a costume to greet the trick-or-treaters. She has been dressed as a Pumpkin, a Zebra, and a Bumblebee (as seen above). Since this year we will be celebrating with two dogs, one will be dressed as an angel and one as a devil.

What does my affinity to dress my pets in ridiculous attire have to do with trade shows? Preparing an exhibit for a trade show is much like preparing a Halloween costume. There are several similar considerations.

  • You have a budget. While you may not have an exact figure, you have a ballpark range of how much you can spend.
  • Just like a costume, your exhibit looks better when your accessories match the theme. If you decide to dress up as a firefighter, you wouldn’t wear a cowboy hat and boots.  The same philosophy applies to a trade show exhibit. All of the accessories need to match the message of the display.
  • Displays that are unique and creative stand out from the rest of the crowd. While a black cat costume consisting of cat ears and a black outfit is very forgettable, a vampire costume with fangs and meticulously designed make-up is likely to drawn quite a bit of attention.
  • The earlier in advance you plan, the better. If you wait until the last minute, you may not be able to have your display ready in time.  If something goes wrong, there is little to no time to fix it.  When you buy a costume, it is much easier to find the right materials if you begin planning weeks in advance.  Last minute preparations often look as though they were done last minute.
  •  The exhibit should be appropriate for the attendees. You would not wear a leotard with cat ears and fishnets to work or wear an overly gruesome zombie costume to an elementary school event. The same principle applies to trade show environments.  If your audience is mostly women, hiring female models to staff your booth may not be a wise choice.  If you are attending a technology show, bringing printed literature may seem out of place.
  • Just like a costume, a display represents a character. The character being depicted through your exhibit is your company and brand. The appearance of the display will shape attendees’ opinions of the “personality” of your company and brand.

When preparing your trade show display, approach the process much in the same way you would when you are planning your Halloween costume. Have a budget in mind, plan ahead make sure that all details of the exhibit emphasize your main message.




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