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‘Halloween is back’: Oct. 31 expected to do record-high business in 2021

Posted at 1:32 PM, Sep 27, 2021

OWENSBORO, Ky. — Halloween decorations and candy have been on store shelves for weeks. You may know the holiday is big business, but you may not know by just how much.

Halloween took a hit last year with fewer people trick-or-treating or hosting parties. This Oct. 31 may be a very different story.

“I really love everything about that vintage Halloween vibe,” said Payton Ford, who runs the Ghostly Productions store in Owensboro, Kentucky.

It’s a place with masks and life-size figures of Vincent Price, Bela Lugosi, monsters, madmen, and sometimes seasonal potpourri. Ford even makes some of the stuff, like whole rows of masks and a “Nightmare On Elm Street” phone shaped like the mouth of Freddy Krueger.

“Completely hand-sculpted and hand-painted,” Ford said.

It was a little scary for Ford to open his shop in 2020. Still, he knew Halloween is big business.


For several years before the pandemic, each Halloween season generated about $9 billion. 2020 saw some costume and candy sales drop due to fewer events, parties, and trick-or-treating, taking the total amount Halloween made to $8 billion. It’s still a big number, partly because outdoor decoration sales were so strong.

“If they weren’t able to go out and do anything for Halloween, they were going to decorate their house for Halloween,” Ford said.

“While COVID and the delta variant are still very present, we are in a very different place than we were last year,” said Catherine Cullen of the National Retail Federation. “Many consumers are feeling safer, and they’re feeling they can celebrate in some ways. We are seeing this pent-up interest in celebrating this holiday this year.”

Cullen breaks Halloween spending into three major categories: decorations, costumes, and candy. For 2021, the National Retail Federation is projecting candy to bring in $3 billion, decorations to bring in $3.2 billion, and costumes to take in $3.3 billion. In fact, the average American is expected to spend $102.47 for Halloween this year.

“Which is 10 more dollars than they planned to spend last year,” said Cullen.

Cullen is expecting Halloween to bring in more than $10 billion total, a record high.

In the Owensboro shop that deals in all things scary, it’s good to know Halloween is back.