Forecast Scares Up Record-Breaking Halloween Sales

That's the view of Los Angeles-based industry research firm IBISWorld, which is tracking the sales of costumes, scary make-up, wigs, Halloween decorations for inside and outside, pumpkins and candy, among other seasonal items. (We'll go out on a limb and assume this does not include the sale of paper sacks and piles of dog poo to the trickster segment of the market.)

“Economic recovery appears to be around the corner and consumers are enthusiastically looking to escape their recessionary woes,” says Toon van Beeck, senior analyst with IBISWorld and the possessor of a name I wish I had the imagination to make up. “Even last year, when the outlook was much worse, the Halloween spirit remained unhindered as we saw total sales actually jump 5.1 percent from 2007.”

IBISWorld aggregated the retail-dollar performance of the following four traditional Halloween categories:


2008 Revenue

2009 Revenue


% Change






$ 1.58







Greeting Cards




America's obviously got a sweet tooth: candy is the fastest growing holiday category. The average person is estimated to spend about $22.50 on Halloween treats in 2009.

It's unclear what IBISWorld is basing this on since surely those passing out candy to trick-or-treaters have not made their sweet purchases yet. It'd be stale by Halloween! Only the freshest candy will do for these skeleton thighs.

Hopefully, there has been no similar uptick in sales of apples and razor blades.

“Despite more people participating in festivities, money is still tight and consumers will look to cut corners when it comes costume purchases,” says van Beeck. 

For instance, if you are old white guy, you can simply get an orange jumpsuit (as if you don't already own one), blacken one eye and go as Bernie Madoff's cell mate. Women can wear their smart business suit, duct tape a cell phone to their ear and go as Maria Shriver. Or anyone can pop some OxyContin, don a “I just bought the St. Louis Rams and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” t-shirt and go as Rush Limbaugh. The cheap options are endless.

But, back to the sales, as the chart shows there has been no growth in the card category. Guess print really is dead. Now that's scary!

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