Five PR Lessons from Our Halloween Alter-Egos

This Halloween, we wanted to share a few of our favorite costumes and the PR lessons we learned from them. Some of us loved the characters we dressed up as when we were just kids trick-or-treating, while others treasured the costumes from their college days or more recent years. Each of us took a trip down memory lane and realized our Halloween alter-egos taught us some key public relations philosophies.

Family Halloween 1996 001

Cowgirl (Annette): One of my most iconic Halloween looks was my cowgirl costume from 1996 accompanied by my trusted sidekicks, bat boy and Wisconsin Badger football star. Growing up in Wisconsin, it is essential to have a Halloween costume that is versatile and easy to accessorize with warm clothes so you can stay out trick-or-treating for as long as possible. As you can see, I made do by accessorizing my cowgirl look with a stylish winter jacket with mittens tied to the sleeve, just like the cowgirls in the Wild West. The PR lesson I learned is that as a cowgirl, it is important to create strategies to avoid the bull! A great PR campaign will create seamless strategies to prevent disasters before they happen and avoid the horns of the bull. It also helps to have a strong team, like bat boy and football star, to back you up along the way!


Hercules (A.J.): When I was pretty young, I went as Hercules for Halloween. The real centerpiece of the whole costume was an oversized tan shirt stuffed with more shirts and cotton to make me look super muscular. I’d pose, show off, and flex at every house to get candy! Public relations without strategy is a lot like a stuffed-shirt Hercules – sure, it looks good on the surface, but down below it’s just fluff and filler. Strategy is the key component to building real PR muscle that both looks great and gives you an actual foundation to build and grow on!

Katie Dalmatian Costume

One of the 101 Dalmatians (Katie): I thought my 101 Dalmatians costume was the coolest thing when I was a kid. I’m pretty sure I wore it three years in a row. At the time, I didn’t think about how I was just one Dalmatian puppy out of 101! In PR, we often are one of 101+ pitches reporters receive. At Bottom Line, we go above and beyond to make sure our “spots” are just unique enough to catch the eyes of media. We tailor our pitches to each specific publication and reporter so our client’s story is THE ONE reporters choose to tell, instead of one that is overlooked among the hundreds. 

Robot (Jeffrey): Think of the robot in the Lost in Space TV series… “Danger, Will Robinson!” I took two different sizes of card board boxes, painted grey: one for the body and a smaller one for the head. I wrapped my arms and legs in aluminum foil and painted a pair of my mom’s dress gloves grey as well. I thought the coolest part of my costume was the slot and chute I had cut into the body of the costume, which was connected to a paper bag I had taped to the inside. You pulled on the slot, and it opened to drop the Halloween treats into. The candy then slid easily down into the paper bag. This reminded me of how we always have an interesting package for the pitches we send reporters on behalf of our clients, and how we make it easy for the reporter to do his or her job.

Madge the Palmolive LadyMargaret Madge Costume“Madge” the Palmolive Lady (Margaret): My favorite Halloween costume came to me in college, after I acquired the nickname “Madge.” At the time, there was a commercial for Palmolive Dishwashing Liquid, and Madge the manicurist had her customers soak their hands in a bowl filled with it and told them, “You’re soaking in it.” One trip to the local Goodwill and I had my costume—a blue polyester dress (with “Madge” written on in Sharpie), white shoes, a brown short wig and a bottle of Palmolive. Some 30 years later, Palmolive is still a successful brand. At Bottom Line, we don’t leave you soaking. We use tried and true strategy, and if needed, we’ll hold your hand throughout the process, to get great results.

What was your favorite Halloween costume? What PR lesson did it teach you? Don’t be scared to let us know in the comments below or Tweet us @BLMPRmke.