The $10B business of Halloween decorations

A combination of factors has pushed the Halloween spirit to record levels, and big-box retailers are reaping the benefits.

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If you’ve noticed more monsters, spiderwebs, or skeletons in your neighborhood this year — you’re not alone.

A combination of factors has pushed the Halloween spirit to record levels, and big-box retailers are reaping the benefits, per Retail Dive.

Halloween decorations…

… became a thing in the early 1900s, when the holiday revolved around adults who hosted parties. In the 1930s, the focus shifted to kids, leading manufacturers to make more family-friendly decorations.

Almost a century later, these decorations make up an increasingly large portion of retailers’ fall inventory:

  • Home Depot’s Halloween and fall inventory is up to 861 products from 418 last year.
  • Walmart is carrying 3.3k+ fall and Halloween products this year.
  • Target’s assortment includes 197 Halloween products.

Mark Ledenbach, who wrote a book on Halloween collectibles, calls Halloween the “gateway to the holidays.” It gives retailers a reliable way to drive traffic to stores between spring and the holiday season.

And people plan to spend

One survey found 87% of consumers plan to spend on Halloween this year, with ~40% expecting to buy outdoor decorations.

Big-box retailers are fueling neighborly competition and pushing consumers to blow their budgets on over-the-top options, including:

  • Home Depot’s $299 12-foot skeleton with LCD eyes.
  • Lowe’s $348 12-foot mummy with lights and sound effects.

While a looming recession would seem to taper Halloween spending, retailers say demand is strong.

Plus, a 12-foot monster in your driveway is a great distraction from the monster in your brokerage account. That is, unless someone yanks it from your lawn, tosses it in their trunk, and drives off.

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