Halloween spending in Midlands stays strong

rburris@thestate.comOctober 29, 2013 

— Halloween sales for 2013 are expected to fall below last year’s spending totals, and fewer people are expected to celebrate the spooky holiday this year nationwide, experts predicted.

But many in the Midlands are still getting into the spirit, shelling out for costumes to dress up as their favorite character from the Duck Dynasty TV show or The Wizard of Oz movie.

Consumers are expected to spend $6.9 billion – 14 percent less than last year – with nearly 158 million shoppers buying costumes, candy and decorations, compared with 170 million last year, the National Retail Federation said in a survey. Average spending on Halloween has increased 54.7 percent since 2005, the survey said.

Mitzi Creel, Halloween Express store manager at Harbison Boulevard in Columbia, said she has noticed more people making their own costumes at home this year and shopping at the store for accessories.

“As far as the busy-ness, it hasn’t changed at all,” Creel said. “It’s been super-busy.” Sales so far are about on par with last year, she said.

Halloween remains the second-largest national holiday in the U.S. in terms of expenditures on decorations, according to the national survey – and Americans will spend nearly $2 billion on uniquely-created home and yard décor this year, the survey said.

“Still one of the most beloved and anticipated consumer holidays, Halloween will be far from a bust this year,” said Matthew Shay, the federation’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We expect retailers to stock their shelves with unique costume ideas for adults, children and pets, a variety of candy options and never-before-seen home and yard decor.”

Dressing up, whether for adults or kids, remains one of the most popular parts of the consumer holiday, and 43.6 percent of people plan to don costumes, spending $2.6 billion in the process.

So what’s hot this year in the Midlands?

Creel said to look no further than Duck Dynasty, the A&E reality show based on a family business in Louisiana, in which duck hunting merchandise is produced.

Whether it’s costumes of the characters, or accessories such as the wigs, beards, glasses, vests or other vital accessories, it has been a challenge to keep Duck Dynasty items stocked, she said. “That’s probably been the No. 1 seller,” Creel said.

For the kids, minion characters from the computer-generated 3D comedy movie Despicable Me, are popular.

Third in popularity this year in terms of costumes sales at Halloween Express is something that may be more familiar to a larger core of people, Creel said.

“It’s kind of weird but, the Wizard of Oz has been big this year, because it was like the 75th anniversary of the movie this year,” she said.

Duck Dynasty costumes range in price this year from $12.99 to $36.99, Creel said. Minions range from $29.99 to $36.99 at Halloween Express, she said.

The average person spends $50-$75 for an adult costume, Creel said, and $40-$50 a costume for the kids.

“Sales have been really great,” Creel said. “So we have no complaints there.”

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