Retailers prepared for Halloween shopping

Americans celebrating Halloween will spend an average of $74

NEW YORK (CNN) – It’s more than just candy and costumes. For retailers, Halloween is the final stop before the crucial holiday shopping season. The holiday will ring up billions of dollars in sales, but retailers hope certain trend lines will look more sweet, than spooky.

Each August, Lorenzo Caltagirone turns his Arlington, Virginia store from Total Party to total fright, masquerading as a Halloween headquarters for the season.

“People actually start buying costumes as early as September, and as far as decor, people spend a lot of money on decor. Now’s the time, in the beginning of October, late September, when people spend a lot of money,” said Caltagirone.

Candy, skeletons, pumpkins and costumes may seem frivolous but small stores like Total Fright, and the big-box retailers, take Halloween, seriously.

“We know that four-in-ten Americans say that they begin holiday shopping before Halloween so for retailers this is an extremely important time of year to get the attention of both Halloween shoppers and those early bird holiday shoppers,” said Kathy Grannis Allen, National Retail Federation Spokesperson.

The National Retail Federation estimates Americans celebrating Halloween will spend an average of $74, adding up to $6.9 billion overall including $2.1 billion on candy, and $2.5 billion on costumes. That’s actually a drop from last year, when spending was expected to reach $7.4 billion dollars.

At a Wal-Mart store in Maryland, manager Tashika Adams says consumers are coming in prepared, “Most of our customers have done their research online so they know what they want when they come into our stores.”

Consumers waiting for last-minute deals, will probably find the basics.

“Most party and costume shops will be fully stocked to make sure we don’t run out of blood, which is like the number one seller, make sure we don’t run out of witches’ hats, things like that,” said Caltagirone.

However, the season’s hottest costume trends, like minions, princesses, and star wars for the kids, and politicos and super heroes for adults may move quickly, so last-minute shoppers, may not find the best selection.

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