Halloween Tricks & Treats for Retailers

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers plan to spend $6.9 billion this year for Halloween. Of this $6.9 billion, $2.5 billion is expected to be spent on costumes and $2 billion is expected to be spent on candy. The rest of these dollars divide among pet costumes, decorations and other Halloween novelties. The real question here, however, is how do you plan to get in on this action?

While customers may still be cutting corners on everyday indulgences, like a Starbucks coffee or yet another pair of shoes, Americans still love a great party and a great holiday. Halloween is no exception, and even ranks #1 on many customer’s lists of favorite holidays to celebrate. And for those customers who aren’t big fans, they can still enjoy a little Halloween retail love.

Share the enthusiasm of Halloween with your customers through a variety of special events, product promotions and store specials.


Let’s face it, “sales” aren’t that unexpected and don’t really scare anyone. In fact, they typically make customers happy (and maybe scare retail buyers). But for Halloween, why not kick it up a notch and create a sale that frightens your customers – in a good way?

Have an item you never markdown? Give into your resistance and put it on sale for one day – or even during select hours – only. Want to tempt your customers to shop in the dark? Keep your store open late on Halloween and have special sales that lure them into your store. Or better yet, open at midnight on October 31st to kick start the Halloween day – marking down Halloween items and other seasonal goods you want cleared out to make room for Christmas and other new items.


Have a store mascot? Prefer a Halloween theme – such as ghosts or goblins? Pick your favorite dress up outfit, then wear these in your store for days leading up to Halloween. It gets people in the Halloween spirit, as well as makes things fun for you. Maximize this by selling products that cater to dressing up for Halloween, indulging in that $2.5 billion customers are expected to spend on Halloween alone. If you want to really stand out as a go to store for costumes, plan a local campaign where you can have employees / friends / family dressed up and going about their days around town… no doubt attracting attention and giving you some publicity. The catch? Don’t wait till Halloween. Start to do this now. Nothing says memorable like a ghost in the grocery store. Be sure to contact your local press so they get in on the action and bring some attention to your marketing efforts!


Get some ghost stickers and apply them to a few random spots in your store. For any customer that finds them, they can either get a random prize, discount or something else special unique to your store. This is your chance to get creative… the real goal is simply getting people into your store to shop.

While attracting customers to spend money is top priority, it doesn’t hurt to get in on the holiday fun by offering Halloween candy during October, supporting a local or in store holiday costume contest, having employees dress up on Halloween or encouraging a coloring contest among your younger customers for “favorite ghost picture” or “Draw a Jack-o-Lantern”.  This is also a great way to partner with a local business, whether a different store, restaurant or area bank.

Finally, if you think Halloween just doesn’t make sense for your store inventory or demographics, think again. Between candy, costumes and apparel, pets, kids, home decor, outside decorations, candles, vintage, novelty and even beverages, there is a chance to incorporate Halloween somehow into your store – if even just in spirit.

Have a Halloween window or store display that you have created for your store that rocks? We want to see the best Halloween inspired displays! Send your pictures to Retail Minded at and the winning picture display will win an annual subscription to Retail Minded Magazine

Editor’s Note: The winning picture will be judged internally by Retail Minded and will be notified by email. All submissions become the property of Retail Minded and cannot be returned. Please include the store name and location as well as email and phone number with each submission. Thank you! 


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