Fear factor: Local businesses cash in on HalloweenConsumers will spend more on Halloween this year than last year, according to the National Retail Federation, and local businesses are ready for them.
By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM
Consumers will spend more on Halloween this year than last year, according to the National Retail Federation, and local businesses are ready for them.
Mel Nygaard spends two-and-a-half to three months setting up his Haunted Farm on Highway 75 south of Moorhead before opening it for terrifying tours every Thursday through Saturday in October (and, of course, Halloween night).
He is in his 21st year and what started as one haunted attraction has grown into 14 scenes or “theaters” run by a 45-person staff each night.
“Halloween has grown considerably as a holiday,” Nygaard said, adding that it’s not just for kids and teenagers anymore.
A lot of his customers are adults. The other night, a 93-year-old woman went through his haunt and “she had a blast,” Nygaard said.
The average person is expected to spend $66.28 on costumes, candy, and decorations, according to The National Retail Federation’s 2010 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch. That’s up from last year’s $56.31 and comparable to the $66.54 average spent in 2008, the NRF stated. Total spending for the holiday is expected to reach $5.8 billion.
David Cuzner, who owns the Fargo, Bismarck, and Sioux Falls, S.D., seasonal Spirit Halloween stores, said sales are up over anything he’s ever seen.
“From day one, we just kind of took off,” he said. “Last year was very good, too. It was the company’s best year ever and my best year ever, but this year is going to be better than last.”
Cuzner said consumers are spending more because Halloween is just a fun holiday.
“For the adults, more people are having parties, more people are getting invited to parties. You don’t go to a Halloween party without a costume anymore,” he said.
Consumers are also expected to spend more on adult costumes than children’s costumes.
Americans will spend $800 million on children’s costumes and $1 billion on adult costumes this year. They will also spend $200 million on costumes for their pets, according to the NRF.
Patty Bergan owns the Fargo franchise for Halloween Express and said her seasonal business would not have been possible years ago, but Halloween has become such a popular adult holiday. And customers are not just shopping for a hat or wig – they want the total look, she said.
“It’s the one day of the year that people can be somebody they’re not and get away with it,” Bergan said.
Dory Colby, who owns Applause Costumes and Dancewear in Moorhead, said for about the past 10 years Halloween has been growing into more of an adult holiday.
“They like to go to the costume contests in the bars and win prizes,” she said.
For Applause, which sells costumes, dancewear, and other accessories year round, Halloween is a very big holiday, Colby said.
“It’s pushing Christmas because of the adults,” she said.
Acres of Terror owner Tony Planpe said people will travel from four or five hours away to be terrified in his haunted fields, woods, buildings and vehicles in Leonard, N.D.
“People love it. They can’t get enough of it,” he said. “Some people come back seven or eight times.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526