Angels call for witches' pardons

Campaign Pardon the Witches Client Angels Fancy Dress PR team Deliberate PR Timescale 14 to 31 October Budget Undisclosed, but believed to be in the region of £12,000

Angels Fancy Dress is the UK’s largest and longest-established costume supplier – based at its 160-year-old Shaftsbury
Avenue shop.

The UK Halloween market is worth an estimated £180m, so Angels wanted to make sure it was the first port of call for Halloween fancy dress.


To drive web traffic to
To position Angels Fancy Dress as a UK retailer prominently associated with Halloween in 2008.

Strategy and plan

Deliberate PR came up with a petition to pardon British witches. Although witchcraft trials were halted in Britain by the 1735 Witchcraft Act, the hundreds of women and men executed before this had never been officially pardoned.

Deliberate PR brought in historian and witch expert Dr John Callow to draw up a shortlist of victims of the witch trials who could stand as symbolic test cases.

A petition page ( was built within the main Angels site and a Facebook group set up. The petition was launched on 15 October, allowing two weeks’ run-up to Halloween.

Measurement and evaluation

In total, the story ran on five national and 15 local radio stations and a total of 88 local and national news websites. On the day of Halloween itself, it was the fourth most read story (of the day) on CNN Online.


More than 3,000 individuals signed the online petition and the Pardon The Witches petition page received around 24,000 unique visitors up to and including the day of Halloween.

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