Halloween continues to be one of the fastest-growing consumer holidays, with sales expected to hit $7.4 billion this year.
More than two-thirds of the 6,332 consumers responding to a recent Halloween survey by the National Retail Federation in Washington, D.C., said they will purchase costumes this year, the most in the 11 years the federation has been doing the survey, and they will spend $77.52 on average, compared with $75.03 in 2013.
The wide variety of costumes for children, adults and even pets, has helped spur the holiday’s growth. Halloween also falls on a Friday this year, so more people are expected to trick or treat, visit a haunted house or attend Halloween-themed parties.
For inspiration, they will hit the Internet, looking at sites like Pinterest, or visit area retailers offering special Halloween sections. About two dozen Halloween pop-ups also have opened across the metro.
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Pam Wood worked as a buyer and then operations manager for two department stores before taking a break from retail.
But then she visited an area Halloween pop-up store, and started thinking about how she would change it up — more make-up, more vintage and vintage-inspired items, some higher quality costumes, wigs and makeup, as well as more of a family atmosphere, including hot cider on the weekends.
She spent two years researching the Halloween retail market before opening Twisted Halloween in September 2013 in Overland Park. By the end of the season she had more than 5,000 Facebook followers.
And true to her vision, she sets Twisted Halloween apart in several ways.
This season, costumes are mostly categorized by movies — “The Wizard of Oz,” “Ghostbusters,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” and “Star Wars.” One group of friends have decided on a Johnny Depp theme, with each one dressing as one of the actor’s most famous characters.
Wood’s sister makes custom shirts with such sayings as “Don’t make me get my flying monkeys,” and another with a silhouette of Dorothy surrounded by a few zombies.
Wood also contracts with a longtime Warsaw, Mo., broom maker who makes special witches brooms for Twisted Halloween. Her father is growing pumpkins to sell at the store to raise funds for a local charity.
Wood has a wide variety of wigs for those customers wanting braided blonde for Disney’s Elsa to white colonial curls for a Martha Washington.
Halloween makeup accounts for a significant portion of Twisted Halloween’s sales. It is already booking sessions with professional makeup artists. Internationally known makeup artist Bobbie Weiner will make be a special guest appearance at the store later this month and the store carries some of her products.
Wood also offers a wide selection of Halloween-themed jewelry, as well as Halloween decorations purchased at estate sales, vintage-style die-cut decorations from Pennsylvania’s The Beistle Co. that are “selling like crazy,” as well as collectibles by Bethany Lowe Designs in Illinois, and black lace curtains, ponchos and capes with Halloween designs like witches, skulls and spiders from Heritage Lace in Iowa.
Wood runs the pop-up from September through October, then spends two weeks packing inventory away before taking a vacation. But in December she’s back at it, going through her notes from the season — for example the “Chucky” character has been unexpectedly popular this year and Halloween necklaces also are hot sellers. She’ll also research 2015 movies, searching for characters that resonate with customers.
Then she’ll attend a Halloween fashion show in Las Vegas in January, as well as New Orleans trade show the same month, and a St. Louis trade show in March, placing orders at all three.
“I think I was really surprised by how many people love Halloween,” Wood said.
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By the numbers
Consumers will spend $2.2 billion on Halloween candy this year and nearly 36 percent of those surveyed by the retail federation said they will send a Halloween greeting card. Americans will spend another $2 billion on decorations.
Still, some Americans responding to the retail federation survey said that the state of the economy has them cutting back on spending and that they will make their costumers instead of buying new ones.
Source: National Retail Federation