Halloween spending has come alive again this year with Americans expected to dole out a total of $5.8 billion, an increase of nearly a billion dollars over last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
This represents a return to 2008’s Halloween spending and marks an opportunity for Halloween-themed businesses to wring the last few dollars out of holiday shoppers before the scary season gives way to Christmas carols and gift-giving.
“Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, and that can set the stage for a truly outstanding season,” said Jason McCann, president of Gemmy Industries, which sells Halloween home decor. “In essence, this means that adults and trick-or-treaters alike can celebrate Halloween throughout the entire weekend.”
Gemmy Industries and these other nine companies hope to cash in — or see their profits rise from the dead — because of the extended Halloween week. Here’s what they have to offer:
Not one to be outdone by the plethora of products available during Halloween, SpookyWorld in New England provides a service to get your scream on. In its 19th year, SpookyWorld has turned Halloween into a 22-day production that this year plans to scare about 70,000 visitors — even the most-experienced horror junkies — with seven haunted houses. Before co-owning the attraction, Michael Accomando started out as a horror film aficionado and movie collector in college, where he turned his dorm room into a make-shift store called “Mike-buster,” renting videos to neighbors and fellow students.
CrazyDog T-Shirts Popular products:Details:
In 2004, Bill Kingston launched this novelty T-shirts and costumes business as a project in his dorm at Ithaca College. Kingston continued the project in his mom’s basement for a few more years before leasing retail space in Rochester, N.Y., and employing his mom part time. During Halloween season, CrazyDog sells costumes for men, women and dogs, accessories and shirts emblazoned with “You can’t scare me, I’m drunk,” “Camp Crystal Counselor,” “Come to the dark side; we have cookies” and more shirts with funny sayings and designs.
“Top Gun” flight suit for men; cupcake and Crayola costumes for women.
Haunted EyesPopular product:Details:
Taking advantage of the vampire trend, this business offers contact lenses to help Halloween revelers look like their favorite pop culture stars such as Edward Cullen from “Twilight” and characters from “True Blood.”
Black Sclera lenses, which make the entire eye black.
Three Muses Inspired ClothingPopular product:Details:
Since 2005, Three Muses has sold its women’s costumes and accessories online. In 2009, owner Candy Keane opened the business’s first storefront in Jacksonville, Fla. “I've always loved Halloween, but hated how you had to go to an ‘adult store’ to buy fun sexy items to dress up in,” Keane said. “So I opened a store that carries all the fun dress-up things like costumes, corsets, wigs, wings, shoes and none of the NC-17 stuff.”
“Hot Treasure Pirate” costume (pictured).
Imagine if a witch cast a spell on famous film characters, musicians, athletes and historical figures, turning them into rubber ducks. Magically, you’d have Celebriducks, which for this Halloween season is selling rubber ducks inspired by the movies “Scream” and “Rocky Horror Picture show.” And if you’re feeling extra devilish, you also can by a Satan duck.
“Scream” duck (pictured).
Smiley CookiePopular product:Details:
What started as selling cookies out of Eat’n Park Restaurants has turned into an online venture for this business, which sells or gives away 11 million of its signature fresh-baked, hand-iced cookies each year. For Halloween, the company is making jack-o’-lantern cookies.
Fresh-baked, hand-iced cookies.
Pear Tree Greetings Popular product:Details:
This small business in Mankato, Minn., jumps into the holiday spirit with its personalized Halloween cards, invitations and stationary. “They are tailor-made for frugal fashionistas to express themselves to friends and loved ones in fun and stylish ways,” said Pear Tree’s public-relations representative Lauren Kaufman. Equipped with a designer who is “on top of the latest” design trends, the business creates things with vibrant colors, hand drawings and patterns – even items children can color.
Tombstone-shaped party invitations.
Mehron MakeupPopular product:Details:
Mehron Makeup sells makeup kits, accessories and applicators to make you look like vampires, werewolves, zombies and more. This week, the company’s products will be featured on the “Martha Stewart Show” and the “Rachael Ray Show.”
Halloween character kits such as the Evil J Villain (pictured).
Gemmy IndustriesPopular product:Details:
Specializing in holiday home decor and entertainment technology, Gemmy Industries doesn’t hold back on the year’s most-frightening holiday. Strobe lights, projectors, string lights, fog machines and inflatable decor take center stage for this business. Among its popular novelty items are life-size figures such as Michael Myers from “Halloween” and Jason from “Friday the 13th.” Its unique products have been featured on “The Tonight Show” and “MTV” and in USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. “The demand for Halloween entertainment is always greater when the holiday comes on a weekend,” McCann said.
Life-size Pinhead from “Hellraiser” (pictured).
From a modest selection of small, decorative houses and figurines in 1990, Lemax has expanded to a world of several hundred items, including a Halloween collection. Its latest set — described as “frightfully fun” — is called “Spooky Town”
Spooky Town Express, a battery-operated train populated with creepy riders; Dreaded Zeppelin, an airship piloted by zombies; Road Kill Roadhouse, a rundown restaurant with zombie-like patrons.