Halloween is 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 to $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 — from locally owned Halloween Depot in downtown Kansas City to national chain operations.
Mike von David, who has been an area franchisee for Halloween Express for eight years, has pop-up stores in Independence and Lee’s Summit.
“We have other full-time jobs that go all year along so it is nice to hit this real hard just from August to November,” von David said. “Although the other months you are thinking about what you are going to buy.”
Research includes watching popular movies to see what characters might resonate with consumers, as well as traveling to Halloween trade shows in Houston and St. Louis.
This year, von David’s customers are asking for costumes inspired from Disney’s “Frozen” movie, as well as A&E’s Duck Dynasty, which also was popular in 2013. Ever popular costumes include vampires, mummies, pirates, and Disney characters. But some consumers want to go beyond the ready-made costumes, so they purchase additional pieces such as tiaras, mustaches, drops of vampire blood and werewolf ears, to customize their outfits, or they buy each piece separately to make a one-of-a-kind outfit, von David said.
“Whether the kids buy anything or not they have fun coming in to see the costumes, decorations and what animated props we have set up. We try to change them out and keep everything fresh,” von David said.
Consumers also 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. At pop-up chain store Spirit Halloween, decorations can run from a simple fake spider web to fog machines to the animated props like the Zombie Girl on a swing - possessed and no longer of this world; the Pop-Up Werewolf who growls and howls, eyes glowing, as it bursts from a mangled crate; a 7-foot haunted swaying tree; and the Electrified Maniac with Electric Box - throw the switch and it twitches from the ‘shock.’
Party City’s Halloween City has set up several area locations offering animated decorations from happy ghosts to scary ghouls, and “Caution Zombie X-ing” signs, as well as costumes for the family, and accessories like Spider-Man and Minnie Mouse trick-or-treat bags, and a headless horseman on a saddle or butterfly wings for the family dog.
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.
New restaurant for Barry Road
The Draft Pick Grill & Cantina plans to open in early October in the Northland’s Barry Trails Shopping Center.
New owners took over the former Escape Eatery & Drinkery space at 240 N.E. Barry Road and are completely remodeling the spot. It will include about a dozen TVs, comfy sofas and chairs in front of a fireplace, and a community table. There also are two private dining areas and the former game room is now a dining room.
“It will be a sports bar with a south of the border kick,” said Pablo Acebedo, general manager.
The menu will include chicken tenders, shrimp enchiladas, fajitas, build-your-own burritos, entree salads, burgers, and sandwiches.
Spending on costumes
▪ According to the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend $2.8 billion on costumes this year — $1.1 billion on children’s costumes, $1.4 billion on adult costumes, and $350 million on pet costumes.