Ghouls and Ghosts Can Mean Money

By T.J. Reid, Editor of Fashion Advantage 

ming wang 257The first days of October have brought cooler weather across the country. Driving through my rural southern area, I already see the Halloween flags; the pumpkins and straw scarecrow decorations out in celebration in my neighborhood. My friends love the spooktacular holiday, and can’t resist participating in the fun of costume, decorations, and candy corn. (And there is no scarcity of trick-or-tweet sweet goodies already on the shelves.  Unfortunately, It is also being purchased and eaten now, long before the kids show up at the door!)

According to NRF’s Halloween Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, nearly 158 million consumers will participate in Halloween activities, slightly less than the survey high of 170 million people last year. Those celebrating will also trim their budgets, with the average person expected to spend $75.03 on décor, costumes, candy and fun, down from $79.82 last year. BUT Overall, average spending on Halloween has increased 54.7 percent since 2005, with total spending estimated to reach $6.9 billion in 2013.*
halloween-witches-jpg
Since 43.6 percent of people plan to dress up for the evening, money will be flowing for both children and their adult counterparts and even the family pooch.  Totals for adult costumes will reach 1.04 billion dollars, and $330 millions will be spent on outfits for pets!

Although some shoppers have already begun (32% before the end of September), there are still lots of folks out there searching for just the right thing; 36% won’t event start until the last 10 days prior to the big day.  It is estimated for the entire holiday, shoppers will spend $2.08 billion on candy and $360 million on greeting cards.

Whether you are a children’s store, a gourmet store, or even just a ladies apparel shop, there are so many ways for you to participate and profit from this holiday! Why not offer a discount to anyone who shows up in costume? Offer a prize (a small gift certificate) for the best costume.  Then, Even after the day, have them bring in their Halloween photos for your bulletin board and have customers vote on the best, the scariest, the weirdest. It’s November by then and your Christmas is out!  Make them look.

I used to dress up as a witch – long black wig, pointed hat, tattered dress, white make-up with even the warts added.  Shoppers came by just to see, but also have their picture made with the witch. It was more fun that photos with Santa and the ladies participated, not just the kids!  On the counter I had a basket of tiny pumpkins and a promotion called “Pick a Pumpkin.”   Each pumpkin had a discount on the bottom (sort of like pick-a-duck at the county fair), and shoppers loved the surprise of an extra bargain. And I was then acknowledged as the “Good Witch of the South!”

T.J. Reid is editor of Fashion Advantage magazine, and author of several books on successful retailing.  She presentsBe Your Own Publicist” with a lesson on creating an effective advertising and promotional campaign on Saturday, October 19 at 10 a.m. at the October Atlanta Apparel Market.

(*The survey discussed above was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The poll of 5,290 consumers was conducted September 3-10, 2013. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points. )

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