Spooky spending

Krystle Wagner • Oct 29, 2017 at 2:00 PM

It’s the time of year when ghosts and goblins will visit homes in search of treats.

About 72 percent of individuals surveyed plan to celebrate Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Overall, shoppers are expected to spend about $9.1 billion on Halloween, which is up about 8.3 percent from the $8.4 billion spent last year.

Of the expected Halloween shopping, $2.7 billion will be spent on candy, $3.4 billion will be spent on costumes, $2.7 billion will be spent on decorations and $410 million will be spent on greeting cards.

When shopping for Halloween items, the majority of shoppers plan to visit discount stores (47.1 percent) and Halloween stores (37.5 percent).

About 25.4 percent and 24.4 percent of shoppers indicate they’ll visit department and grocery stores, respectively.

A little more than 22 percent of shoppers plan on going online, while almost 11 percent of shoppers will visit thrift/resale stores. Slightly more than 22 percent indicated they’ll do their shopping online.

Since the end of September, the do-it-yourself crowd has been picking up materials from Field’s Fabric in Spring Lake. About 13.7 percent of shoppers indicated they plan to shop at fabric or craft stores, according to the National Retail Federation.

Barb Frank, manager of Field’s Fabric in Spring Lake, said people will come in for Halloween-related materials right up to the last minute.

Some of the more popular materials this year are capes, furs and shear materials for ballerinas.

Frank said they also sell “a fair amount” of interfacing to stiffen fabric to make witches hats.

When Disney’s “Frozen” was popular, the store sold “tons” of materials for homemade “Frozen” dresses, but that trend seems to have since run its course, said Frank.

When shoppers come in for materials, they often share their project.

One of the most unique costumes involved a woman recently searching for silver fabric to help her transform into a cocktail shaker, Frank said. The woman’s group of friends planned to dress as different bar drinks.

Parents also visit in search of materials similar to their children’s favorite cartoon character.

Frank said she’s made her share of costumes over the years, including animals, a pumpkin, “VeggieTales” characters, princesses and ghosts.

Overall, Frank said they see people coming in for a variety of costumes.

“They have good imagination,” she said.

If people are looking for a last minute costume, Frank said one idea she saw a mother do is create a werewolf by putting fur fabric on the back of her son’s hands and on his feet.

Jim Cherney, retail operations director of Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, said they also expect to stay busy up until the last minute.

Halloween shopping at Goodwill stores usually begins in early October as customers search for traditional off-the-rack costumes to put their creativity to use.

Overall, Cherney said it’s “across the board” with what people are looking for in the stores. He noted that shopping at stores like Goodwill is a way to find affordable and DIY costumes.

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