Guide to Halloween – Small business information, insight and resources | Thu, 14 Feb 2019 18:32:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 157446745 Halloween Costumes Small Business Employees Should Avoid Sun, 21 Oct 2018 13:00:25 +0000

If your business is one that encourages (or endures) Halloween costumes for employees, it’s a good idea to establish some ground rules for what types of costumes employees should avoid. The key advice is what we describe as the “vampire rule of Halloween Costumes”: Some costumes that may seem appropriate for a nighttime adult party are way out of line in the light of day. Here’s our annual reminder of …

Halloween costumes to discourage at work

The gory costume


Violence and bloodshed before five p.m. are never good ideas, even if you’re dressed like a character from the Walking Dead.

The political costume

You can buy President Trump masks, but here’s some advice: Don’t. Are you praising or mocking a particular political figure? Do you really want even more discussions about politics at work?

The ripped-from-the-headlines costume

Like the political costume, the ripped-from-the-headlines holiday costume may have sounded clever when you first thought of it, but there are just too many ways a social media hashtag can go bad.

The religious costume


Speaking of offensive, religion is another hot button costume category you would do best to avoid. Do your best to respect your coworkers’ religious beliefs and curb the desire to go to work as Moses or Buddha or Pope Francis.

The provocative costume


(Image: via

Please. For goodness sakes. Don’t. wear. this. to. work. Don’t allow it. If you need more convincing, call your attorney and ask why.

The overly-complex costume


(Image: on Flickr via themarina)

Working is still your primary objective at the office, even on Halloween. Don’t trap yourself in a costume that will make work difficult, painful or awkward. Avoid costumes that are hot and prevent you from seeing, sitting properly or using your hands.

The let’s make fun of the co-worker costume

There is no better way to offend the people you work with than by mocking them at Halloween. Even if you aren’t trying to mock anyone, your costume could come across as condescending, mean or even a little creepy. And don’t say you’re Elliot on Mr. Robot if you’re actually dressed like the tech-support guy.

Featured image | VIA Flickr via Steve Jurvetson)

American Retailers Anticipate a Halloween With Lots of Treats | 2018 Mon, 24 Sep 2018 16:11:03 +0000

Once again, Americans are looking forward to their favorite candy, costumes, and decorations during the upcoming Halloween season, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual survey, conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. Total retail Halloween spending is expected to reach $9 billion this year. Last year’s spending was $9.1 billion. Here are some highlights from the survey:

175 million | Number of Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities
$86.79 | Average amount of spending by each of those Halloween celebrants

According to the survey, this is how much celebrants will spend on various Halloween items (and the percentage of celebrants purchasing something from that category).

$3.2 billion (68%) | Costumes
$2.7 billion (74%) | Decorations
$2.6 billion (95%) | Candy
$400 million (35%) | Greeting cards


Annual Traditions

70% | Hand out candy
50% | Decorate their home or yard,
48% | Wear costumes,
45% | Carve a pumpkin,
32% | Throw or attend a party,
30% | Take their children trick-or-treating,
21% | Visit a haunted house and
18% | Dress pets in costumes.

Pet costumes continue to gain popularity,

20% (up from 16% last year) | Percentage of Halloween celebrants who dress their pets in costumes this year
31.3 million | Estimate of Americans planning to dress their pets in costumes

Where celebrants get inspiration for the perfect costume

35% | Online
29% | Stores
19% | Ask friends and family
19% | Look on Pinterest
16% ! Look on Facebook
16% | Influenced by pop culture
15% | YouTube

Where celebrants will purchase costumes and other Halloween supplies

45% | Discount stores
35% | Specialty Halloween store or costume store
25% | Department stores
24% | Online
24% | Grocery/supermarket stores

Estimate of Children Wearing These Costumes

3.8 million | Children who plan to dress as their favorite princess
2.5 million | Favorite superhero
2.2 million | Batman character
1.9 million | Star Wars character
1.9 million | Witch

Top 11 Child Costumes

#10 | Frozen (Elsa, Anna)
#9 | Pirate
#8 | Ghost
#7 | Avengers character (Excpt Spider-Man)
#6 | Spider-Man
#5 | Witch
#4 | Star Wars character
#3 | Batman
#2 | Superhero
#1 | Princess

Estimate of Adults Wearing These Costumes

7.2 million | Witches
2.5 million | Vampires
2.1 million | Zombies
1.9 million | Pirates
1.3 million | Avenger characters

Top 11 Adult Costumes

#11 | Wonder Woman
#10 | Clown
#9 | Superhero
#8 | Ghost
#7 | Star Wars character|
#6 | Batman
#5 | Avengers character (excluding Spider-Man)
#4 | Pirate
#3 | Zombie
#2 | Vampire
#1 | Witch

Top Ten Pet Costumes

#10 | Ghost
 #9 |  Superhero
 #8 | Star Wars
 #7 | Lion
 #6 | Dog
 #5 | Cat
 #4 | Devil
 #3 | Bumblebee
 #2 | Hotdog
 #1 | Pumpkin


Why This Year’s Halloween Will Be a Treat for U.S. Retailers | 2017 Wed, 25 Oct 2017 13:20:14 +0000

It’s estimated that 179 million Americans will take part in Halloween festivities this year—that’s eight million more than in 2016. According to the annual survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics, Americans will splurge on costumes, candy and pumpkins for a record $9.1 billion in Halloween spending. “Americans are planning to spend more than ever as they gear up for Halloween,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF. “Retailers are helping customers celebrate in style with a huge selection of costumes, candy, and decorations to cater to ghosts and goblins of all ages.” And, as we remind you each year, include small and local merchants when planning your Halloween shopping this weekend.

179 million | Number of Americans planning on taking part in Halloween festivities this year
171 million | Number of Americans who took part in Halloween festivities last year

 $9.1 Billion | Estimated Halloween-related expenditures in 2017
$8.4 Billion | Expenditures last year (2016)
8.3% | Percentage increase in expenditures year-over-year

$86.13 | Average spending of each Halloween consumer
$82.93 | Average spending last year (2016)
$3.20 | Average spending increase year-over-year

 What are Halloween consumers purchasing this year?

$3.4 Billion | Spending on costumes
69% | Percentage of Halloween consumers who will purchase costumes

$2.7 Billion | Candy
95% | Percentage of Halloween consumers who will purchase candy

$2.7 Billion | Decorations
72% | Percentage of Halloween consumers who will purchase decorations

$410 million | Greeting cards
37% | Percentage of Halloween consumers who will purchase greeting cards


How will Americans celebrate Halloween this year?

71% | Hand out candy
49% | Decorate their home or yard
48% | Wear costumes
46% | Carve a pumpkin
35% | Throw or attend a party
31% | Take their children trick-or-treating
23% | Visit a haunted house
16% | Dress pets in costumes.

Where will shoppers purchase costumes and other Halloween supplies?

Note: While there is an item in the list that says, “local and small businesses,” other categories in the list are also small and local.

47% | Discount stores
38% | Specialty Halloween store or costume store
25% | Supermarkets
24% | Department stores
22% | Online

What are the top costumes for children this year?

3.7 million | Their favorite action character or superhero
2.9 million | Their favorite Batman character
2.9 million | Their favorite princess
2.2 million | A cat, dog, monkey or other animals

What are the top costumes for adults this year?

 48% |  Percentage of adults who plan to dress in a costume this year

5.8 million | Witch
3.2 million | Batman character
3.o million | Animal (cat, dog, cow, etc.)
2.8 million | Pirate

Pets? Yes, pets

While you weren’t watching, decorating a favorite pet became an actual thing.

10% | Percentage of pet lovers who will dress their animal in a pumpkin costume
7% | Will dress their cat or dog as a hot dog

And remember, shop at your favorite local and small merchants.

It Will be a Sweet Halloween for Small and Local Candy Stores | 2016 Wed, 19 Oct 2016 15:58:57 +0000

Recently, we shared some statistics provided by the National Retail Federation about predicted sales of merchandise related to Halloween. Today, we’re focusing on some sweet statistics about Halloween candy sales from the National Confectioners Association. As always, we encourage you to #buylocal and support some of our favorite small businesses, locally-owned and operated candy stores.

Who will party? Who will stay home?

76% | Percentage of households who plan to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters
82% | Percentage of people over the age of 45 plan to be home to greet trick-or-treaters
57% | Percentage of Americans who will have stocked candy bowls in their home or office in the days leading up to Halloween
30% | Percentage of Americans who will attend an adult-oriented Halloween party this year
51% | Percentage of millennials who will attend a Halloween party this year

Beware of parents with hungry looks in their eyes

72% | Percentage of parents who confess they take candy from their child’s Halloween haul
25% | Percentage of parents who wait until their kids go to bed or school before sneaking some sweets
47% | Percentage of families that have a house rule that everyone must share
22% | Percentage of parents who claim not to sneak some candy away from their kids

Welcome trick-or-treaters (or else)

61% | People who will decorate their front porch or door
69% | Households with children who will decorate porch or door
27% | People who will dress in costume to welcome trick-or-treaters
13% | People who dress up a pet on Halloween
24% | Millennials who dress up a pet

How many pieces of candy per trick-or-treater will you hand out?

50% | Two pieces
22% | Three pieces

Did someone say our favorite word: Chocolate?

72% | People of all ages who say chocolate is their favorite trick-or-treat candy
78% | Ages 45-60
68% | Ages 18-29

Candy Corn | Just the FAQs

12% | Percentage of shoppers who will buy a bag (or two)
47% | People who say you should eat a whole piece of candy corn at once
43% | People who say you should start by biting off the narrow white end

How people choose what candy to buy

60% | Choose their own favorite.
20% | Decide based on tradition. (Candy Corn, anyone?)

Sources: National Confectioners’s 2014 consumer survey of 1,797 American adults and NCA’s 2013 consumer survey of 1,335 American adults

Also on

Retail | American Halloween Spending Will Reach Historic Highs This Year | 2016

Photos | Thinkstock

Retail | American Halloween Spending Will Reach Historic Highs This Year | 2016 Mon, 26 Sep 2016 13:00:00 +0000

Retailers are expecting a big treat this Halloween as total spending is expected to reach $8.4 billion, an all-time high in the 11-year history of an annual survey sponsored by the National Retail Federation and conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Reminder: As we suggest to shoppers throughout the year,  #BuyLocal and #ShopLocal for your Halloween-related purchases.

“After a long summer, families are excited to welcome the fall season celebrating Halloween,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers are preparing for the day by offering a wide variety of options in costumes, decorations and candy while being aggressive with their promotions to capture the most out of this shopping event.”

171 million | Number of Americans that will take part in Halloween festivities
64% | Percentage of Americans taking part in Halloween activities
36% | Not taking part


 Halloween activities participants will take part in

71% | Handing out candy
49% | Decorating their home and yard
47% | Dressing up in a costume
46% | Carving a pumpkin
34% | Hosting or attend a party
30% | Taking their children trick-or-treating=
25% | Visiting a haunted house
16% | Dressing their pets in costumes

Percentage of participants who will purchase these products

What they’ll be spending on those items

$8.4 billion | Total Halloween-related retail spending
$82.93 | Average Halloween spending per celebrant in 2016

$3.1 billion | Amount that will be spent on costumes
67% | Percentage of celebrants purchasing costumes

$2.5 billion | Amount that will be spent on candy
94.3% | Percentage of celebrants purchasing candy

$2.4 billion | Amount that will be spent on decorations
70% | Percentage of celebrants who will purchase decorations

$390 million | Amount that will be spent on greeting cards
35.4% | Percentage of celebrants who will purchase greeting cards

Where Halloween shoppers will shop

47% | Discount stores (big box retailers)
36% | Specialty Halloween/costume stores
26% | Grocery stores / supermarkets
23% | Department stores
22% | Online

National Retail Federation
Research by Prosper Insights & Analytics.
The survey asked 6,791 consumers about Halloween shopping plans.
Conducted September 6-13, 2016


Graphics by



By the Numbers: Halloween is a Treat for Lots of U.S. Small Businesses | 2015 Sat, 31 Oct 2015 15:58:53 +0000

Halloween may be associated with spooky goblins, but it has become a financial treat for all sorts of businesses, large and small. From the U.S Census Bureau, here are some statistics that demonstrate the economic impact of Halloween.

41.2 million | Trick-or-treaters (ages 5 to 14)

treaters_jpg 1

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2014 Population Estimates, PEPASR6H)

1,337 | U.S. chocolate manufacturers (2012)
37,400 | Employees of these chocolatiers
$14.9 billion | Value of these chocolate treats


(Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 Economic Census, NAICS 2012: 311351, 311352 and 2007: 311320, 311330)

441 | U.S. manfacturers of non-chocolate candy
19,267 | Employees of these candy makers
$7.7 billion| Value of the candy they make

candycon 1

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 Economic Census, NAICS 311340)

3,215 | Number of U.S. candy and nut stores
19,821 | Number of employees of these stores
$1.8 billion | Sales

candystoe_jpg 1

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 Economic Census, NAICS 445292)

50,900 | Acres of pumpkins harvested in the U.S.
$149.9 million | Value of harvest

pumpkins_jpg 1

(Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Page 9 and 38)

These Small Businesses Stay a Little Bit Spooky All Year Long Fri, 30 Oct 2015 12:00:35 +0000

Halloween may be this weekend, but these small businesses are a little bit spooky all year long. 

Couture Caskets


Above: The Bone, a favorite casket for dogs. Below: The Basketball casket is a slam-dunk.



After witnessing her brother fawn over a 1956 Thunderbird, Venus Smith asked, “Wouldn’t you love to be buried in that?” Smith took her comment seriously and started Couture Caskets, a custom casket business for pets and humans. One of Smith’s more pricey deathbeds for a client was a Vintage 1966 Shelby Cobra.

The Stanley Hotel


(Image: via wikimedia commons)

This legendary hotel was the inspiration for the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s bestselling novel, The Shining. When the The Shining was made into a miniseries in 1997, it was also filmed here. If you book the hotel today, we highly recommend avoiding room 217 (where King stayed during his visit).

The Old Absinthe House

absy“Everyone you have known or will ever know eventually ends up at the Old Absinthe House,” claims the owner of this haunted bar. Located in New Orleans’ French Quarter, the Absinthe House has served spirits to its patrons for the last 200 years.

Obscura Antiques & Oddities


(Photo: on Facebook via Obscura Antiques & Oddities)

From a two-headed stuffed cow to art made of nail clippings, this New York City (Lower East Side) antique shop specializes in the obscure and downright strange. Obscura Antiques even has spawned multiple reality TV shows on the Discovery Network called Oddities.

Healthy Halloween Treats For Your Office Party or Customer Promotion Tue, 27 Oct 2015 12:51:20 +0000 This year, skip the super-spooky, over-sugared and super-sized chocolate bars and instead choose these healthy Halloween treats for your employees and customers to enjoy later this week. Here are some (easy!) ideas for guilt-free snacking. (For recipes, click the links.) (Note: If the healthy stuff isn’t your cup of hot chocolate, you may prefer this high-calorie post from 2013.)

Goblin Grins and Monster Mouths


“Boo”-Nana Pops


Witch’s Broomstick Snacks

witch-sticks 1

Tangerine pumpkins and banana ghosts


Ghost Berries



Best Halloween Treats People Brought to Work Today Thu, 31 Oct 2013 19:36:40 +0000 We’ve decided Halloween candy isn’t just for the kids. A lot of it ends up at work. We surveyed several small business friends to see what treats (the sugary, fattening kind we’re not supposed to be encouraging you to eat) came to work today. These were at the top of the list (which means they are probably at the bottom of any list made by New York City Mayor Bloomberg).

1. Krispy Skreams Halloween Donuts



These Halloween treats are some of our favorites—a seasonal spin on a classic. Bonus: If you wear your costume (and we know you dressed up) into the store on Halloween, you’ll get a free donut.

2. Candy corn.


(Image: simmon via

It’s a cliché, we know, but we can’t resist a little of this treat every Hallow’s Eve. The office candy bowl is the perfect spot for this treat, too, but does anyone really want more than three pieces? Once you’ve been reminded of the taste, you won’t mind waiting until next year for more.

3. Anything homemade.


(Image: nledrew via

Nothing gives you a reason to bake like a holiday—and we’re sure your employees will take what they can get. If the Martha Stewart chocolate cobwebs are too advanced for you, we hear there are some slice-and-bake pumpkin sugar cookies we’ll take instead.

4. The Kid’s Candy.


(Image: jcapaldi via

And here’s a tip for tomorrow. Bring more candy to the office. We know your son or daughter doesn’t need all 7 pounds of candy they’ll bring home tonight. Do ’em a favor and bring some of it into the office (where your coworkers will snarf them up, saying all the while that they shouldn’t).

Small Business Job Titles We Love: House Haunter Tue, 29 Oct 2013 12:49:00 +0000 If it seems like there are more and more professionally produced haunted houses lately, you’re right, according to a recent New York Times feature. A nationwide network of professionals called “House Haunters”–small business owners and freelance contractors who design, build and put on these scaled-up versions of what used to be produced in the basement of your elementary school–has even been created.

This year, 31 million Americans plan to visit a haunted house, often paying from $15 to $30 each. Over the past decade, there has been an “upsizing of haunted houses … in the vein of ‘mega haunts’ like Netherworld in Atlanta and the Beast in Kansas City, Mo., which have elaborate sets and are staffed by actors and the prop and makeup artists who have found themselves out of work in a (computer-generated imagery) dominated Hollywood,” according to the Times.


Mr. Kopelman is a professional haunted house producer and designer, or “haunter” in industry parlance. He opened his first haunted house 30 years ago in Phoenix, and promoted it by driving a huge Frankenstein head around in a truck, making sure it broke down on the city’s busiest corner during rush hour. (“I read P. T. Barnum’s book,” he said.) In recent years, he has designed or promoted multiple “haunts” across the country every Halloween season. A genial, salt-and-pepper-haired man of 56 who lives in Houston, he isn’t a big fan of horror films or Goth culture — or, for that matter, dressing up on Halloween. He sees haunted houses as a profitable business, and likes the theatricality. “I always had the dream of producing movies,” he said. He was at the Fairplex to oversee construction of Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare, a collaboration with the rock musician and horror-film director, based on the gory Rob Zombie oeuvre. The production, Mr. Kopelman said, is the biggest of his career: a $2 million budget; three haunted houses encompassing 33,000 square feet; a “Bloody Boulevard” outdoors; and 150 employees, including three seamstresses and “a guy that shoots you with CO2 as you go through.”

Read the full story: “House Haunters” (

(Featured Photo: Ricky Brigante on Flickr)