Holiday Shopping Season Starts With Halloween

By: Katie Stukey Email
By: Katie Stukey Email
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Halloween is less than two weeks away and it's possible you're already behind on preparations.

A national retail study shows one-third of consumers started their Halloween shopping last month. By the second week of October almost 80 percent of consumers have made their holiday purchases and most of that rush seems to center around what to wear.

“A lot of people are trying to get in early to get their costumes,” says Mangelsen’s prop room manager Jeremy Lubash. “I know a lot of people are finally realizing that you can't wait until mid-October to get your costume. They realize you need to get in end of September, beginning of October to get the best selection."

The most expensive masks at Mangelsen’s, which run around $100, were gone by the first week of October. The selection still remains overwhelming and staff says it's amazing what people will spend to throw a Halloween party.

The economic impact of Halloween season isn't packing the same punch we've seen in recent years. Projections for this spooky holiday season are down considerably. The average consumer will spend $75.03 on Halloween goods, making for a combined $6.9 billion industry this year compared to $8 billion a year ago. The National Retail Federation says the drop is the result of a shaky economy and mediocre job growth. Even with a decrease, at nearly $7 billion, we're obviously not skimping on Halloween spending.

Most of that money will go toward costumes, including almost a half-billion on outfits for pets. Candy and decor are close behind costume sales. We'll also spend a third of a billion on greeting cards. The good news for the rest of 2013 is holiday spending leading up to Christmas is expected to climb almost four percent, so that indicates Halloween celebrations are a bit more disposable than those like Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Decreased spending in a Halloween-crazed society means many are getting thriftier, though homemade costumes don't always come cheap. Halloween often means making use of whatever can be found around the house, but at Mangelsen’s, staff says on average, folks shell out $50-$100 for a costume. The National Retail Federation says the average homemade get-up runs around $27.85.

Mangelsen's is capitalizing on the do-it-yourselfers, creating a “DIY” aisle for the first time ever. Being a craft store, most of the supplies were already available, but now the most popular costume-crafting items are all together. They even made up several costumes and printed off the photos to share some of their ideas.

A national survey shows traditional costumes are gaining in popularity and most of those are easy to put together yourself. The top six most popular adult costumes for 2013 are:

6. superhero
5. pirate
4. zombie
3. vampire
2. Batman
1. witch

For kids, animals and princesses are high on the list this year.

Music, television and current events are huge factors in Halloween trends. It's no surprise that one of the biggest TV shows of the moment is also the inspiration for one of the more popular costumes. Duck Dynasty items are all the rage at Mangelsen’s. There are even duck skeletons to use as props. Camouflage, long beards, bandanas and glasses are helping anyone and everyone channel their inner Uncle Si.

“Everybody wants to do the big beards and bandanas and stuff like that and it's men, women, children,” says Lubash. “They all want to do that one. I even had someone dress up their infant with their big beard and stuff.”

Another pop-culture inspired costume we're hearing a lot about is Miley Cyrus, though as the days get cooler, a Duck Dynasty beard and beanie sound a whole lot more comfortable and practical than a nude bikini.

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