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A frightening business: Halloween scares up plenty of profit


A frightening business: Halloween scares up plenty of profit


It seems Halloween is not just for kids any more, indeed it is now very much focused on adults with costume sales and rentals providing a huge money making opportunity – particularly in the United States where the ghoulish holiday is most popular .

Dressing up can cost a scary amount of money and adults are where the profits are according to Kodi Hadrick, the manager of Abracadabra in Manhattan, New York City, which rents and sells costumes, wigs, shoes, props and accessories.

She said: “Halloween has really been geared towards the adults lately. I’ve heard in the industry a lot of Mom and Pop shops are actually getting rid of their children’s departments because they can’t get the profit margin up.”

With Halloween becoming more popular every year, some people spend thousands on costumes and accessories:

As Mark Lakin, a customer in Abracadabra, said: “If you’re going to do it you’ve got to do it right.”

While Sheldon Gayle was looking for something special to top last year’s effort: “As long as it’s unique I guess that would be good. Last year I was a pregnant nun – So making sure it’s like tasteful!”

The US National Retail Federation estimates spending there will total $7.4 billion (6.9 billion euros) on costumes, decorations, party supplies and sweets for the trick or treat tradition by children.

Halloween profit booster for theme parks

US theme parks say Halloween now accounts for as much as 20 percent of their annual attendance.

Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services, a global consultant based in Cincinnati, said: “It’s a season maker and breaker in some cases. A lot is riding for a lot of companies on Halloween.”

At destination parks, such as Universal Orlando, Halloween events can draw as many as 600,000 visitors, Speigel said, making the holiday among the industry’s top performers.

This year, the Halloween season could also help chase away a summer that fell short of expectations at some regional parks, Speigel noted.

Universal Studios Hollywood was packed on the Sunday before Halloween. Visitors lined up for nearly 90 minutes to ride roller coasters in the dark, or enter mazes featuring gore-filled rooms and rotting zombies.

The $129 (103 euros) front of lines passes, allowing holders to skip the lines once on each attraction, were sold out for the evening.

The Six Flags chain has been marketing its Halloween ‘Fright Fest’ in parks since August, and started paid advertising for its most popular special event in September.

Knott’s Berry Farm in Southern California is credited with starting the trend in 1973, when it launched its ‘Scary Farm’ event over a weekend with two mazes and a handful of roaming monsters.

“It has become something that people want to spend money on,” said Lara Hanneman, director of entertainment production at the theme park. “They love the spiky kind of feeling, the adrenaline you feel when you get scared.”

These days, the six-weekend promotion is the most intensive of the four busy seasons, including the summer months, at the park owned by the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.

“Per day, it’s our busiest time,” said Raffi Kaprelyan, the park’s vice president and general manager

with Reuters

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