7 ways for property managers to engage residents this Halloween

Amanda Maher
Amanda Maher | 6 min. read

Published on October 26, 2017

There are few things scarier for property managers than unhappy residents! Nowadays, with so many new apartment communities coming online, property managers are expected to pull out all of the stops to keep residents satisfied. One of the best ways to do that is by programming events around the holidays.

With Halloween just around the corner, how can property managers engage residents in a way that will make the entire community feel more festive? Here are 7 Halloween ideas for rental properties, whether you manage an apartment building, multi-family home, or homeowners association.

#1: Decorate Your Property

One of the easiest and most overlooked ways to promote holiday cheer is by simply decorating the property. This could include a pumpkin display in the entryway or on the front porch, scarecrows out front, and spiderwebs and decals for the windows. It’s a low-cost way to remind residents that as the property manager, you care about the details. Most people can’t help but smile when they see cheerful holiday decorations. As a bonus–don’t forget that some of these decorations can be preserved and reused year after year! Talk about bang for your buck.

#2: Encourage Trick-or-Treating

Another easy thing a property manager can do is shoot residents an email reminding them of the town’s designated trick-or-treating hours. In this email, you can encourage residents to participate. In larger complexes, particularly those with tight security, you may need to relax entry/exit requirements for the night. You might also want to advertise via social media that the residences will be open for trick-or-treating. Otherwise, children in the neighborhood might not realize your building is participating in the Halloween fun!

#3: Host a Halloween Decorating Contest

Depending on how your building is laid out, you could structure a Halloween decorating contest in different ways. For instance, in a multi-family complex, you could have residents decorate their unit’s doors. Townhouses could decorate their porches. And single family rental communities or homeowners associations might opt for going all-out with house and yard decorations (assuming that regulations allow them to do so).

Of course, you’ll need someone to judge the decorating contest! So, as you announce the contest, also solicit 3-5 volunteers to grade the competition–or enlist your staff’s help if you can. Offer up a $100 gift certificate to a local restaurant for the winning household!

#4: Host a Pumpkin Carving Contest

There’s nothing quite like a good, old-fashioned pumpkin carving contest. The property management company could provide each unit with a pumpkin to encourage participation. Then, let the carving begin! Just be sure to distribute guidelines for residents that include a reminder to be careful with leaving candles lit inside jack-o’-lanterns. As an extra precaution, you may want to stipulate that pumpkins should be lit with electric candles only. The last thing you want is for the fun to turn into a fire!

#5: Create a Haunted House

If you have a good-sized common area, consider enlisting some help to transform it into a haunted house for a night. Build a maze. Install fake doors. Use smoke and sound machines to create an extra eerie atmosphere. Invite residents to partake in the fun, and offer some sort of food and beverage for those who make it out alive! It’s a great way to encourage residents to mingle and get to know their neighbors.

Don’t have a common area? No sweat! Another option is to promote the idea with residents and ask if anyone wants to turn their apartment or yard into a smaller haunted house. Then, you can host a mini-parade through each of the haunted units. This is a great way to showcase residents’ creativity. Just be sure to provide haunted hosts with a little treat afterwards to thank them for participating.

#6: Attend a Hay Ride

For a pretty modest fee, you could see about charting a van or bus to shuttle residents to and from a local farm for hayrides and other festivities over the weekend. Your residents may not have access to a vehicle, so coordinating a trip would be appreciated by those who would otherwise miss out on hot cider, hay rides, and other haunted adventures.

#7: Host a Costume Swap

People often invest tens or hundreds of dollars in a new Halloween costume each year; and then there are others (guilty as charged!) who wait until the last minute to get a costume for a Halloween party. Coming up with a new costume every year is not only tricky, but it’s expensive! One fun way to engage residents is by hosting a costume swap. Invite residents to drop off costumes by Thursday or Friday morning, then set up a costume swap the following day: leave a costume, get a costume! Supplement the costume swap by offering snacks and beverages for those who attend.

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Of course, property managers don’t have to do any of these things; but in today’s day and age, with many residents paying a premium to live in apartment buildings, these little extras can go a long way in keeping residents happy. Programming helps residents feel attached to where they live–and to each other, which bodes well for keeping those residents over the long-term.

How will you celebrate Halloween at your property this year? Which Halloween ideas for rental properties have been successful for you in the past–and which are you most excited to try? Let us know in the comments!

Read more on Resident Management
Amanda Maher

Amanda Maher is a self-proclaimed policy wonk who dabbles in real estate law. She holds a B.S. in Political Science and Sociology from Boston University, as well as a master's in Urban and Regional Policy from Northeastern.

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