Halloween Spending | Will Jacko Be Retailers’ Saving Grace?

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009 By

Michael’s Death Could Keep Costumers Alive

The King of Pop could save retailers this Halloween (Photo: halloweenfun.blog.com)

The King of Pop could save retailers this Halloween (Photo: halloweenfun.blog.com)

I know, I’ve already covered this topic on this blog, but the chance to post a Michael Jackson Halloween mask is just too much for me to pass up. His untimely passing gave his music sales a boost over the summer, now Michael Jackson masks, costumes and accessories are poised to do the same for Halloween costume sales. And retailers definitely need it; short term loans won’t boost a business’s bottom line for long.

Jacket, Hair, Glove and Surgical Mask

That’s the way to prepare for a Halloween night on the town. It’s also a recipe for retailer success. Chelli Tillman of Kansas City Costume Co. told the Kansas City Star that “After we placed our order the vendors sold out quickly (http://www.kansascity.com/business/story/1494422.html). There’s been nothing like it.”

But will it be enough?  The National Retail Federation says that the predominant theme this Halloween may very well be “How creative can I be, and how little can I spend?” BIG research projects Halloween sales to reach $4.75 billion, which actually reflects more than a $10 decrease in spending per consumer on average when compared with 2008.

But What About the Parties?

That’s where Halloween’s biggest meat is. Just behind New Year’s Eve and Super Bowl Sunday, Halloween is the third-largest party day in America. Retailers are lucky that the holiday happens to fall on a Saturday this year, making more people available to have fun.

Patriotism Written All Over Your Face

(Photo: flickr.com)

(Photo: flickr.com)

Let’s be honest. Michael Jackson simply doesn’t work for everyone. For adults without a vampire fetish, that leaves politics to fill the void. As people become increasingly disillusioned at the way the economy is going and the state of the country, a turn to symbols of America’s greatness has been seen. Oddly (or not surprisingly, depending upon your view), President Obama is a top seller. Jerry Vest of Have Guns Will Rent in Kansas City, Kansas hasn’t seen such an outpouring of patriotism since 9-11.

“That’s what happened with 9-11. People wanted to change things, so we had an overabundance of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty. Now we are seeing it again,” he told the Kansas City Star.

Do-It-Yourself is Still Popular

It’s what I do most years. I enjoy the creative challenge. Last year I bought a simple mask, but the remainder of my costume was comprised of stuff I had around the house. In the 18-to-24 age demographic, studies indicate that they paid an average of $81.91 for costumes in 2007 and $86.59 in 2008. However, it is predicted that only $68.56 will be spent in 2009. I won’t even spend that much

Do People Buy Halloween Cards?

I imagine that schoolchildren somewhere might exchange Halloween cards as part of a related Halloween class activity, but outside of that, why does Hallmark bother? Of course I know they wouldn’t make specialty cards for the holiday if they didn’t sell, but I don’t know anyone who uses them. If it’s true that Americans exchange 26 million Halloween cards each year (so says the K.C. Star), then I’ll dress as Jacko for a year. I won’t tell you which year, but I promise I’ll get around to it…

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But cards are quite sophisticated now. Lights and sounds can make any Harry Potter or Twilight moment seem interesting. Yet I can’t be bothered with such novelties when I’m having a hard enough time making ends meet in my life. If I take out short term loans, I’m using the money on my kids, not fancy Halloween cards or Michael Jackson masks.

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