The big business of Halloween retail

As e-commerce continues to decimate the brick-and-mortar retail industry, the rise in Halloween’s popularity since the mid-2000s has helped bring some of those dormant storefronts temporarily back to life.


October 29, 2018

People friggin’ love Halloween. Spooky-time-spending has been at its peak since the mid-2000s — and 2018 could be its biggest year ever.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will drop about $9B on the festivities this year ($86.79 per person) as people look to get their lost on as sexy Mario, or Borat, or the topical duo of the year: Wild Wild Country’s Bhagwan and Sheela.

Halloween ain’t for kids anymore

The NRF’s report shows the rise of social media has influenced massive Halloween spending among millennials, with huge jumps in money spent on adult and pet costumes.

Nowadays, as drunk selfies in an extra-small Ninja Turtles costume are a Halloween must, the demand for seasonal Halloween stores has gone through the roof — a gift to property owners, entrepreneurs, and job-hunters alike.

Zombie brick-and-mortars are real

Dormant department stores have come back from the dead as hot commodities for seasonal Halloween companies (which capture almost 35% of the annual Halloween market).

Spirit Halloween operates more than 1.3k pop-up stores this year (a 5% increase from 2017), and Party City hired 35k seasonal employees in preparation for Halloween back in the summer. 

The Halloween spike has even helped create a new business model: companies like Appear Here, a London-based online marketplace that helps find homes for temporary pop-up shops.

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