Halloween Business Ideas Based on Retail Statistics

Don't Miss Out on These Sweet Halloween Business Ideas

Witch Series: Apothecary

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If the end of October seems stranger and spookier than ever, there's a reason for it—Halloween is growing as these Halloween retail statistics show. If you're interested in starting a business or investing in one, these statistics provide plenty of sweet Halloween business ideas. First, the stats.

Halloween Retail Statistics: The Market is Growing

The size of the market is one reason that Halloween is a solid business opportunity. More than 179 million Americans celebrated Halloween in 2017, a number that increases every year. 

Halloween has become a true retail bonanza. First, because Halloween is becoming an increasingly universal celebration. Second, because individual consumers are spending increasing amounts of money on celebrating Halloween.

The National Retail Federation says consumers spent $9.1 billion on Halloween in 2017 up from $8.4 billion in 2016, a new record high.

The average American consumer celebrating Halloween planned to spend $86.13 in 2017, compared to an average Halloween spend of $74 in 2015, up from the average spend of $66.28 in 2010, says the National Retail Federation. In 2017, men planned to spend $96, nearly $20 more than women, who planned to spend $77.

Canadians have become so wild about Halloween that Canadians now spend more per capita on costumes, candy, and décor than those in the U.S., with holiday-related spending that is second only to Christmas. Halloween spending came in at about $1 billion in 2015 according to the Retail Council of Canada. That year, when Halloween fell on a Saturday, Canadians spent an average of $169 on hosting a Halloween party and:

  • Attending a party: $77
  • Alcohol: $55
  • Costumes: $52
  • Entertainment (performers, music, bar cover, etc.): $48
  • Decorations: $43
  • Candy: $42 (RetailMeNot.Inc survey)

Ken Alterman, president and chief executive of Value Village, says that Halloween sales have increased more than 35 percent over the last five years. It's a similar story over at Canadian Tire, where Halloween now represents the third most important seasonal category behind Christmas and summer backyard living.

Statistically, then, business opportunities related to Halloween should have "legs", with a market that continues to grow over time. Growing segments within the Halloween market make the possible profits for a Halloween business even sweeter.

Halloween Isn't Just for Kids Anymore

Children's trick or treating is still a Halloween mainstay, but it's adults who are spending the money on celebrating, embracing Halloween as a chance to let their inner child get out and party. Large parties with participants wearing elaborate costumes are becoming increasingly popular - excellent news for people looking for niche business opportunities.

Interestingly, it's not just young adults who are getting in on the spooky fun. The National Retail Federation found that in 2013, 70 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds planned to celebrate Halloween, but 65 percent of consumers aged 25 to 34 and 60 percent of 35 to 44 year-olds were also planning to celebrate.

And what are they doing to celebrate? According to the National Retail Federation, in 2017:

  • 48% of adults wore a costume
  • 16% of people dressed up their pets
  • 35% of people threw or attended a party
  • 71% handed out candy
  • 46% carved a pumpkin
  • 23% visited a haunted house
  • 49% of consumers celebrating decorated their home or yard

Costumes are the most expensive part of Halloween for many. In 2017, men spent $96 each, compared to $77 each for women. The top five costumes for adults were a witch, a Batman character, an animal, a Marvel superhero, and a vampire. The most popular pet costumes characters were pumpkin, hot dog, bumble bee, and the devil. Dog, lion, and pirate were also all tied at the same level of preference of popular pet costumes.

Possible Halloween Business Ideas

So what kind of Halloween businesses would be the best business opportunities?

One way to answer this question is to examine the most popular Halloween products. I bet you've already guessed the two things that most people buy - candy and pumpkins. The other most purchased items are Halloween decorations and costumes. (Halloween is the second-biggest decorating holiday of the year, surpassed only by Christmas.)

As business opportunities, you should cross the first two items off your list. There are already many (large-scale) businesses producing Halloween candy and pumpkins and your chances of competing successfully would be practically nil.

However, the other two on the list, Halloween costumes, and decorations, provide scope to develop business opportunities, particularly opportunities that cater to a niche market.

You might, for instance, start a business:

  • Providing Halloween music for parties
  • Creating “authentic” period costumes for adults
  • Providing Halloween decorating services for residential or business premises
  • Presenting in-house parties for children (as a substitute for trick-or-treating)

Besides Halloween parties, visiting haunted houses is another Halloween event growing in popularity. Setting up a haunted house of your own could be an expensive proposition (and a poor idea anyhow if there is another nearby), but providing tours of "haunted houses" and other spooky sites in your area could be a profitable business idea. Check with your local historical society or old-timers to research your area's paranormal history; the ghost stories you discover may surprise you - and be quite profitable if you can present them in an alluring, entertaining way.

Bag Profits With a Halloween Business

The purpose of this article is not to present every possible Halloween business opportunity there is but to make you aware of the potential of the Halloween market and get you thinking about possible Halloween business ideas that you could turn into a profitable small business.

So don't just look at Halloween as time to buy candy or a chance to party. Halloween presents many business opportunities that a savvy entrepreneur won't want to overlook.