by VERONICA GORDON
Halloween has become big business, and retailers in the area can expect spending to be higher this year than in the past.
All those Halloween shoppers could scare up extra sales tax dollars for Kyle and Buda.
The average shopper will spend $79.82 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $72.31 last year, with total Halloween spending expected to reach $8 billion, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
A record 170 million people plan to celebrate Halloween this year, according to NRF’s 2012 Halloween consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight.
Seven in 10 Americans (71.5%) will get into the haunting Halloween mood, up from 68.6 percent last year and the most in NRF’s 10-year survey history.
Local residents are buying up the holiday necessities. Melissa Rocha Payne commented on the Hays Free Press Facebook page that she has spent $200 on new costumes.
“It’s my husband’s favorite holiday!” she said.
People are not the only ones getting in on the fun. Pet costumes are “flying off the shelves” at the Petco in Kyle, according to Dog and Cat Department Manager Kelley Decker.
Decker said the most popular outfits are the hot dog and dinosaur costumes for dogs. Cats can dress up as sailors, pirates or even wear a Hawaiian grass skirt, she said.
“All the costumes are selling really well,” she said. “We’ve sold through a lot of them. And it’s definitely good for our overall sales.”
Decker added that the store’s upcoming costume contest could be helping with the sales as well.
“We’re hoping to have a big crowd,” she said. “But lots of people like to take their pets to festivals in costumes, too. Last year we had someone come in looking for a biker costume for their dog. We didn’t have one, but we have lots of different ones.”
At the new Walgreen’s in Kyle, candy is the big seller.
“We have a few decor items, but we have a lot of candy,” said Manager Nicole Navarro. “We’re doing pretty good on sales. Of course, we’re always changing displays for holidays and seasons, so we get things out and off the shelves quickly.”
Target in Kyle devotes a large section of its retail space to the holiday. Assistant Store Manager Andrea Cortez has worked at the store for two years and has experienced the last-minute rush as Halloween approaches.
“You can see that section of the store is a lot messier than before,” she said. “Typically we start seeing an increase in sales as it gets closer. So far, sales are going good. We see more traffic in the final days before Halloween.”