Halloween scares up customers

The spooks are splurging. The National Retail Federation projects a record 170 million people will celebrate Halloween this year.
Marie Havenga
Oct 19, 2012


They'll spend an average of $80 on decorations, costumes and candy. That's up from $72 per person last year, an 11 percent increase.

By the time the skeletons are put back in the closet and the pumpkins shrivel, Americans will have plunked down a total of $8 billion, making Halloween the sixth-largest retail holiday of the year, according to national data.

Dominieca Stinson of Spring Lake Township, recently browsing the aisles at the Party City store in Norton Shores, said she expects to spend between $150 and $160 on Halloween this year. That's up 10-20 percent from last year's budget, she said.

Stinson is treating her family to a wacky wardrobe for an upcoming church costume party.

“We like to keep it light and not creepy or nasty,” she said.

Stinson's son, Morgan, a Grand Haven High School sophomore, decided on a $30 "Nana Mamie" rubber mask for his costume.

“When I was little, all I wanted was the candy,” said Morgan, 15. “Now I can get a little more goofy with it.”

Ferrysburg resident Katie Langlois browsed costumes at Party City on Wednesday night.

“I like to look and get ideas, then try to find ways to 'do it yourself,'” she said. “I want to see what I might be able to do, then hit Goodwill. It's a lot of fun to do.”

The store's manager, Chantel Howell, said Halloween at Party City is what Christmas is to other retail stores.

“This will be wall to wall this weekend,” said Howell, pointing to a wall of hundreds of costume selections. “Halloween is our No. 1 holiday. This is our favorite time of year.

"With the trend the way it is, more adults are becoming involved," she added. "They have neighborhood competitions, dress up their houses and dress up themselves.”

Howell said the store has tripled its staff by hiring 20 for Halloween sales.

Popular culture and movie characters are this year's hottest-selling children's costumes. Adults are opting for decade costumes and couple's costumes.

“I think people love celebrations and it's a holiday that's affordable,” Howell said. “ I think they're having a great time with it.”

Ted Maycroft, Halloween merchandise clerk at the Meijer store in Grand Haven Township, said sales are up significantly from last year, although exact numbers are not yet available.

Pumpkin decorating kits and paint are huge sellers, according to Maycroft. "Avengers" and zombie costumes are tops with kids. He also said adults are opting for couple's costumes, such as "guy and gal pirates."

“We just condensed our costumes down to one section because we've sold so many,” Maycroft said. “And pumpkins are flying off the racks. We had a huge display out front and we're already down to half the size it was. We've definitely had better sales than last year. I think people are looking to celebrate again.”



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