For those who value the spooky season, figuring out how to celebrate this year presents a real challenge. Most parades and large events are canceled, and some cities are encouraging residents to find alternatives to trick-or-treating or costume parties such as virtual gatherings or one-way candy pick-ups, where goodie bags are left at the end of a drive-way or yard.
What this means for the seasonal economy that crops up around Halloween each year won’t be completely clear until the end of the month, but so far 2020 has been a mixed bag for the costume and decoration shops that make their bones each October.
“It’s a weird season,” said Mike Dugan, assistant manager at Costume Cabaret, an independent costume shop in northern Delaware. “The flow of people is off and on. Sales are down.”
Dressing Up Homes for Halloween
Sales are up in one important area, however. In place of costumes and expensive inflatables, customers are buying more cheap Halloween decor to give their homes a seasonal flourish. “They seem to be buying a lot of small decor-type stuff to dress up their homes and yards,” Dugan said. “The big stuff isn’t selling.”
Top-sellers include the bread-and-butter of Halloween decorations: bundles of fake spiderwebs, simple props such as zombie hands that can be planted in the dirt, and cheap hang-up skeletons and witches for tree branches and porches. This isn’t just the case in suburban Delaware, where lawn decorations are a pastime, but in downtown Manhattan as well.