Dec 28, 2010
2011 Halloween Trends
Abby Heugel, Managing Editor

What’s in store for 2011 and how can you prepare? To give you a sneak peek, we talked to a few experts in the industry to see what they expect to see on the Halloween horizon.

What you are anticipating the 2011 Halloween season to be like?
Greg Shakley
Worthington Cylinders
We’re likely to see consumer spending continue to increase slightly to catch up to pre-recession levels. A recent survey by the National Retail Federation estimated that Americans would spend roughly 17 percent more on Halloween in 2010 compared to the previous year – representing a $5.8 billion investment on everything from costumes to decorations to candy. Halloween should continue to be a key sales opportunity for retailers in 2011.

Kevin Johnson
The 2010 Halloween season started out slow and then built momentum closer to the 31st, as end consumers waited until the last minute. This echoes what retailers are doing as well. We’re seeing a trend over the last couple of years of retailers ordering light early and then trying to fill in with reorders later in the season. There can still be a lot of success if the retailer orders the right product and then fills in with reorders.

Howard Beige
Rubie’s Costume Co.
We anticipate Halloween 2011 to continue to have growth and increase in business for Halloween retailers across the country as the economy continues to recover. The other thing we can expect for Halloween 2011 is that shopping will become more condensed as the last five days will represent more then 50 percent of the total sales of the entire Halloween season.

Will the holiday falling on a Monday affect retail sales?
The impact shouldn’t be huge, as most consumers will plan celebrations on the weekend prior. Parties and events outside of the home like community trick-or-treat nights will still happen, just on an earlier timeframe. Retailers should prepare for this by moving up their sales and promotion cycles accordingly. Catch customers’ eyes early with Halloween-specific signage and displays, and make sure employees start pushing products and ideas no later than mid-September.

Halloween is becoming more of a universally recognized holiday, like Christmas. This is due to the fact that there are many more temporary retailers and existing retailers entering the Halloween market, thus elevating the awareness of the holiday. The overall dollars spent on the holiday are going up every year as more people celebrate. However, some urban areas are becoming saturated with too many retailers, causing some specialty retailers lost sales. The day of the week that Halloween falls on is becoming less and less an area of concern. New market factors are much more important.

Amanda Marples
It allows everyone to celebrate the holiday, starting on Friday with parties, festivals and other events. Plus, with multiple events people tend to want to dress differently and appropriately for each event attended.

In terms of new products and new ideas, what should we be excited about seeing?
I think we’ll see more integration of the vampire craze into balloon designs next Halloween. The entertainment industry has made an estimated $7 billion from selling vampire books, movies, TV shows and related music and merchandise in just the past few years, and this segment will likely grow in 2011 with movie sequels and additional TV shows popping up. In addition to two-dimensional images of vampires and bats on traditional foil balloons, expect to see three-dimensional shapes that bring the theme alive for consumers.

Warren Berkowitz
Forum Novelties
We have developed a range of new and unique product lines, unveiling a line of zombie, werewolf and Steampunk product that will encompass not only costumes and accessories, but also decor.

One way of dealing with a weekday Halloween is to offer different items that customers still get excited about. People are still spending money if you interest them.

Susan Beer
Based on the success of Shocktails – everything you need for a sophisticated, adult Halloween cocktail party – Amscan will be introducing Shocktails product expansions, as well as a coordinating family-friendly Halloween party collection. Imagine within one house, having two parties simultaneously, side-by-side – one tailored to kids and one satisfying the adults – different age groups but all products coordinated in color and design sense.

Also look for new Halloween scene setters that will economically transform the party environment from floor to wall to ceiling.

There will be more choices for everyone, more fashion-forward silhouettes and sequins, sequins, sequins for that extra sparkle.

People are building their own costumes out of different accessories so that they are insured that they are unique. This new way of thinking is much more environmentally friendly and also encourages more costuming throughout the year.

We have been asked for more than 10 years when we’re going to start making costumes. So, we will be introducing many retro licensed costumes such as Where’s Waldo, Dr. Seuss, Pee Wee Herman, Rainbow Brite, Dark Shadows, Kiss and many more. We will be taking our same attention to detail and high quality that make our hats with to our costume line.

What balloon trends will make an appearance for Halloween 2011?
Robin Oxley
Traditional icons with orange and black are always popular. However, traditional with a twist is emerging to incorporate unexpected color combinations for a fresh new look. Look for the nostalgic orange and black to be infused with bold colors such as hot pink, intense blue and purple and spooky silhouettes and vampire-esque artwork mingled with playful pumpkins and amusing creatures.

Candy and other sweet treats have always been popular Halloween icons and what makes it updated this time around is the more crisp art style and shapes. From ghoulie glitz with sparkly skulls and twinkling vampires to cute creatures for fun kid’s parties, there is a balloon for every decorating idea.

Kathy Flynn
Pioneer Balloon Co.
For Halloween 2011, we will again introduce a mix of scary designs for adults and whimsical designs that will appeal to younger Halloween partiers. The classic Halloween icons (witches, spiders, jack o’lanterns, ghosts) will include a trendy twist or a humorous surprise.

Bubble Balloons continue to grow in popularity and will once again be an important part of the 2011 Qualatex lineup, while Goth-themed designs are still a popular theme for the young adult market.

In addition to the vampire trend continuing, filigree designs will also hold strong. With its fancy flourishes, the wire-like filigree design accentuates ghoulish cemetery scenes beautifully (think black balloons with gray or white accents). Foils in sparkling holographic film will also gain popularity, serving as an eye-catching alternative to all of the dark, matte options for Halloween.

How can retailers incorporate more balloons into their Halloween offerings?
Use balloons to provide quick and easy decorating solutions during the last three to four days before the weekend festivities. Retailers should always have inflated grab-and-go bouquets and SuperShape balloons available for last minute decorating for home, office and school parties.

Air-filled balloons make fantastic party gifts for kids and add-ons to treat bags. Be sure to offer a display of air-filled balloons at or close to the registers to grab those impulse sales.

The more visual a retailer can be in displaying balloon ideas, the better. Making the leap from deflated balloons to creative party decorations can be a challenge for consumers. Retailers can alleviate this with photo displays or how-to sessions for producing everything from balloon invitations to ghost- and pumpkin-themed decorations.

Go beyond the decorations by positioning balloons as convenient and cost-effective supplies for party activities, and let consumers see them firsthand in the store. Items like the Balloon Time’s Create-A-Face Sticker Kit are perfect for a hands-on display, as both kid and parent shoppers can try the product first-hand with little instruction or help needed from store employees.

What trends do you predict for 2011 in the costume sector?
Just as ‘Alice in Wonderland’ was the huge item for 2010, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ will be big again for 2011, as will vampires and werewolves. Steampunk is just now catching on, but by Halloween 2011 it will have hit mainstream. Retailers who don’t create a Steampunk section in their stores will miss a huge opportunity. The biggest Halloween demographic is the 20-somethings and they will be looking for retro costumes for characters that were popular when they were kids.

We expect continued interest in classic Halloween characters with an updated look. Following the movie trends, for example – vampires, werewolves, zombies – they can all be sexy, unique and creative without looking like the classic presentations from the 1930s movies.

We are seeing a resurgence of long-lost icons with Hollywood film releases of multiple classic, tried and true properties. There will also be a lot of technology-inspired graphics and themes and lots of unique details to create individualized and inspired looks.

More consumers will also be looking to combine clothing with Halloween accessories to create a complete costume. With less money to spend, they are being more resourceful and inventive.

I think costumes once again will improve in their costume design quality and value but the retail price points will remain the same. I also think the assortment of accessories will increase and retailers will have more feature shops and boutiques to promote the important costumes of the season.

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