Jan 28, 2014
Tricks, Treats and Trends
Abby Heugel, Managing Editor

Get the numbers for Halloween 2014

Considering it’s nearly February and your stores are filled with hearts and Cupid and not pumpkins and ghouls, it’s a little hard to get excited about Halloween trends for 2014. But as we all know, that’s the cycle of retail, and it’s time to start looking ahead.

According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Halloween Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, nearly 158 million consumers were expected to participate in Halloween activities in 2013, slightly less than the survey high of 170 million people last year.

Those celebrating were expected to trim their budgets, with the average celebrant projected to spend $75.03 on decor, costumes, candy and fun, down from $79.82 last year. But overall, average spending on Halloween has increased 54.7 percent since 2005, and total spending was estimated to reach $6.9 billion in 2013.

Spooky Sales

For the first time, the NRF asked when people would begin shopping for Halloween. According to the survey, nearly one-third (32.8 percent) began shopping before Sept. 30, with an additional 67.2 percent of consumers shopping in October. Specifically, 43.6 percent were planning to begin the first two weeks in October with 23.6 percent waiting until the final two weeks of the month.

What were they planning to buy?

Of course costumes were first on the list, with 44 percent of people expected to dress up and spend a total of $2.6 billion in 2013. Specifically, consumers planned to shell out $1.04 billion on children’s costumes and $1.22 billion on adult costumes.

When it came to inspiration for costume ideas, one-third (32.9 percent) were searching for costume ideas online, another third (32.8 percent) were looking for new ideas in a store and one-fifth (20.8 percent) were seeking out advice from friends or family. Additionally, 14.1 percent were checking Facebook for inspiration and 3.8 percent were reading blogs.

Along with costumes, celebrants were expected to spend $2.08 billion on candy, $360 million on greeting cards and almost 2 billion dollars on decorations. Party & Paper Retailer talked with a couple companies about what they expect to see in 2014.

PPR: When it comes to Halloween, what should retailers be excited about seeing?

Kathy Flynn

Pioneer Balloon Co.

More adult parties equate to more sales throughout the store. Add some simple Halloween decor-to-go for both children and adult parties and you’ll increase the number of returning adult customers. They’ll remember your store for the next holiday event, and with Christmas and New Year’s to follow, it’s a great opportunity to pick up some new customers.

Children’s parties continue to be a focus for parents (and grandparents), but the whimsical product designs like friendly ghosts and jack-o-lanterns are meeting their match with the desire for more adult-driven, scary products. In addition to gothic motifs, we’ll also see themes of the more grotesque nature – thanks in part to the recent invasion of zombies into our pop culture.

Steven Swartz

U.S. Balloon

Retailers should be excited to see more creature-themed balloons, both cute and terrifying. Ghosts and pumpkins will continue to make Halloween appearances along with new creatures, and you’ll also continue to see fall and designer trends making their way into balloons and other decor pieces.

PPR: What’s new in Halloween partyware and accessories?

Dawn Kirschner


One of the new trends that we are seeing for Halloween 2014 is the use of the chalkboard look. Unique will be introducing two patterns this year with this type of graphic. Happy Halloween captures the more traditional look while Chalk Board Halloween brings a more contemporary look using the checker patterning along with the chalkboard trend.

We are also seeing simple dot and stripe patterns in black and orange continuing in popularity. These simple patterns speak to the Halloween season and can be used throughout the month – mixing and matching with solids and a wide range of designs.


Polka dots, stripes and bold colors will continue to generate a number of sales for the 2014 Halloween season. Zombies will definitely be a continuing trend into this season, and maybe you’ll see a few mustache-themed Halloween items in 2014 – a vampire with a mustache might just be on the horizon!


Colors continue to feature the traditional orange and black with accents of lime and purple. New is that pumpkin carving has taken on a whole new look with detailing tools, etc. Consider carving your store address and lighting with battery-powered lights inside the pumpkin. Set it outside your door to get customers to ask about tools and stencils.

Wire bowls, burlap, plastic spiders and of course, the ever-popular spider webs are must-haves for party planning. You can also add a few “levitating” balloons for a ghost-like environment with helium, or by suspending air-filled balloons from the ceiling with monofilament line.

PPR: How will Halloween balloons and decor look in 2014?


Halloween decor is leaning more towards cute and spooky rather than straight up scary. The idea of ghosts and spiders is scary, but when they’re smiling, they look friendly.

Halloween decor is also getting more and more creative and can last longer by using HI-FLOAT in your air-filled decor. Yes, it works for air-filled latex balloons, too. You can also add HI-FLOAT to your 260 twister balloons with HI-FLOAT’s new 260-connector.


We will see balloons and decor becoming scarier and more appropriate for adults. Think more on the dark side, such as zombies, black ravens (á la Edgar Allan Poe), and even ominous knife-wielding silhouettes.

PPR: What tips do you have for Halloween sales and displays?


The role of solid colors for Halloween cannot be underscored. Retailers need to make sure they merchandise their black and orange solid color tableware, cups, cutlery and tablecovers with their Halloween merchandise for incremental sales.

Parents of school age kids are the primary demographic for your kid-friendly entertaining needs. Many of these are school parties that need to be setup quickly in the classroom so making it easy for the parents to find the core items like plates, napkins, tablecovers, crepe streamers, banners, baking cases, paper straws, serving bowls in one place will help them fill the cart quickly and completely.


Bright colors that will keep the Halloween theme – slime green, pumpkin orange, dark purple. Creative decor featuring unmistakable monsters, like a ghost or mummy – something that the customer will recognize, but still be excited by.

Anagram’s decorator panels are a great option for creating Halloween displays. Panel them on the walls to build a haunted house, or if you’re more creative, create custom shapes and design your own creatures.


Always remember to show what you want to sell. Show a range of price points to appeal to all customers. Ideas include cash-and-carry party decor, a Halloween Bubble Balloon with a value-added 5-inch latex collar and a character stand-up using Qualatex Microfoil shaped heads.

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