Baton Rouge retailers say they expect Halloween spending will be better in 2013 than in the past few years, thanks to a trick of the calendar.
Donna Travis, owner and president of Party Time, which has a store on Bluebonnet Boulevard, said because the holiday falls on a Thursday this year, more college students and young adults will be heading out to parties and buying costumes.
“More people go out on a Thursday than on a Wednesday,” Travis said. “We’re expecting a strong finish.”
Halloween is the biggest holiday of the year by far at Party Time, a 35-year-old family-owned business.
This year, Travis said, she’s seen more adults buying accessories such as hats and wigs that will be used to make costumes.
U.S. shoppers are expected to spend more than $7.6 billion on Halloween this year, 3 percent more than last year, not only on costumes for their children but on costumes for themselves and their pets, according to IBISWorld Inc.
The spending includes bags of candy, greeting cards and home decorations such as fake spider webs, tombstones and caldrons.
While overall spending will be up slightly, it will be a far cry from last year’s nearly 18 percent increase over 2011, IBISWorld said, as consumers are expected to tighten holiday budgets in general.
Spending on Halloween accounts for less than 1 percent of total U.S. retail spending, data from the market research firm shows.
“One of the biggest things that hindered growth this year is the government shutdown through more than half of October,” said Nikoleta Panteva, a senior retail analyst with IBISWorld. “With huge macroeconomic things, consumer confidence usually drops pretty low. Spending gets cut on highly discretionary products like Halloween decorations and costumes.”
Sue Gallion, manager of Spirit Halloween, a temporary store set up at the Mall of Louisiana’s open-air Boulevard, said she expects things will be busy Thursday with last-minute Halloween shoppers.
While the space is stocked with costumes, wigs, masks and makeup kits, Gallion said the inventory was greatly reduced from earlier in the month.
This is the first year the seasonal store has set up shop in The Boulevard.
Spending is expected to rise moderately in three of four categories that IBIS tracks — costumes, candy and decorations — while greeting card purchases will be down nearly 5 percent as consumers shift away from paper products.
In the costume category, just over half of sales will be for adult costumes, slightly less than half for children’s and nearly 2 percent for pets. Still, people will spend more than $52 million on pet costumes.
Growth in costume sales likely will come from those for children, as parents typically cut back on spending for themselves before cutting back on their children, Panteva said. Adults are more likely to not dress up or to buy used costumes, reuse old ones or make their own, she said.
At Party Paradise in the Drusilla Shopping Center, owner Debra Fournet said popular costumes involve the stars of the reality show “Duck Dynasty” and the yellow Minions from the “Despicable Me” movies.
Fournet said she’s also had many requests from adults looking for long grey wigs so they could go as New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan.
“People want costumes of whatever they see on TV,” she said.
Despite more budget-conscious consumers this year, spending on Halloween increased by nearly $2 billion in the past three years, according to IBISWorld. And that trend will likely continue, Panteva said.
“Retail spending in general is growing, so that’s one part of it,” she said.
As for Halloween, “the marketing around the holiday has increased quite a bit.”