June 4, 2023
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Tri-county Halloween sales steady despite expected national decline


Retailers in the Tri-Counties aren’t frightened by projections of a national decline in Halloween spending.

Shoppers are expected to spend $8.8 billion this year, down from 2018’s $9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey.

Although only 36 percent of consumers plan to make their purchases at specialty costume stores, seasonal pop-up shops such as World of Magic Halloween in the old Macy’s building on State Street still supply trick or treaters and partygoers who often return every year.

Even as competing online markets begin to place significant pressure on local costume shops, store manager Amanda Cantu said her store gets a steady influx of costumers.

“The online presence has definitely affected sales in recent years,” said Cantu, who has worked at the store for four years. “But our inventory has such a big range of items and you wouldn’t necessarily think to look for them online.”

The store is teeming with a variety of different costumes. Characters from the movies “Toy Story 4” and “Descendants” are among this year’s most popular items.

Cantu said the store is currently generating a daily income of around $15,000-$20,000, mostly from costume sales.

Although the shop also sells a variety of decorations at a 50 percent discount, she said customers tend to buy them from other businesses that have a broader selection.

The new Target store in Goleta stocked shelves for its soft opening Oct. 16 with spiders and skeletons in anticipation of big decoration spending, which accounts for about $2.7 billion of the nation’s total Halloween spending.

New store opening executive Marissa Steel said Target’s decoration selection sold out immediately and was one of the first things to go.

“The sales come in waves: decorations, costumes, and then candy,” said Steel. “We expect there to be more last minute candy purchases as we get closer to Halloween.”

John Lane, owner of Lane Farms pumpkin patch in Santa Barbara, also is expecting an increase of customers as the final weekend leading up to Halloween approaches.

This is the pumpkin patch’s 45th year of operation and it offers 15 different kinds of pumpkins as well as family friendly activities such as hay rides and a corn maze.

“We think this coming weekend should be really big,” said Lane. “It is really related to the weather and there should be no rain. So far, it looks like it’s going to be a good year.”

• Contact Carly Kay at intern@pacbiztimes.com.