The Business of Halloween

troup halloween blog entry


I want to start by wishing everyone a very happy and very safe Halloween.  Though started to celebrate the end of harvest season in ancient Celtic culture, many in contemporary America view Halloween as a consumer-driven holiday.

And it’s not just kids (and corporate execs) who love with this annual celebration.  That’s right – adults are getting in on the act in record numbers and sharing their Halloween costumes and adventures on a seemingly endless array of social media outlets.

While Halloween may mean different things to different folks, there’s no disputing that it’s BIG business.  Here are some spooky numbers that illustrate how pervasive the Halloween impact is, courtesy of the National Retail Foundation:

  • Approximately 158 million Americans will spend a whopping $6.9 BILLION on all Halloween-related expenses, including decorations, costumes and candy
  • Americans will spend $2.6 BILLION on Halloween costumes this year
  • Over 5 million adults will dress as witches in 2013
  • 8% of adults say they plan on dressing their pets this year

As someone whose business it is to keep his finger on the pulse of popular culture and marketing, I have a deep appreciation for the Halloween phenomenon.  Halloween provides all of us with the chance to escape reality and indulge a fantastical world where we can be anyone (or anything) we want.

We won’t all make it to Hollywood, but October 31st is one day when we can play whatever role our hearts desire.  It’s a day when extremes are celebrated and the creative rules over the conservative.  I, for one, think we could use a couple more days like this throughout the year.  As Douglas Coupland says in The Gum Thief, “I think if human beings had genuine courage, they’d wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween. Wouldn’t life be more interesting that way?”

If you’re still struggling to come up with a costume idea for you or the kids, here are this year’s top choices according to the National Retail Foundation

For kids…

  1. Princess, 2. Animal, 3. Batman, 4. Action / Super Hero, 5. Spider-man, 6. Witch, 7. Zombie, 8. Disney Princess, 9. Superman, 10. Fairy

For adults…

  1. Witch, 2. Batman, 3. Vampire, 4. Zombie, 5. Pirate, 6. Action / Super Hero, 7. Superman, 8. Dracula, 9. Cat, 10. Scary costume / mask

If you’re looking for something more “on trend,” you might consider going as Miley Cyrus, cast members from AMC’s hit show “Breaking Bad,” or the Minions from “Despicable Me” – all of which are in the top 5 of Google Shopping searches this October.

During presidential election cycles, politicians dominate the Halloween costume trend-o-sphere, but in an off year like 2013, pop culture reigns supreme.  It looks like I’ll have to wait ‘til Halloween 2016 to debut my Hillary Clinton mask 🙂

But if all other options fail you tonight, just place carved pumpkin over your head and go as John Boehner.

Happy Halloween!  TROUP there it is!!


About troupconsulting

We're Champions of diversity. It's good for society. It's great for business.
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