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Retailers say economy won’t haunt Halloween
Reagan McCloskey, 6, tries on a Transformers mask at Super Target in Cumming. Local retailers are ready for Halloween shoppers. - photo by Autumn McBride

Halloween is shaping up as more of a treat than a trick for retailers this year.

Despite haunting sales last season, the National Retail Federation is predicting a major comeback in 2010.

Total Halloween spending is expected to reach about $5.8 billion, according to the federation. The average shopper likely will spend about $66.28, up from last year’s $56.31 and on par with the $66.54 from 2008.

“This year people are expected to embrace Halloween with even more enthusiasm, and will have an entire weekend to celebrate,” said Matthew Shay, federation president and CEO. 

This year, Halloween falls on a Sunday. Leif Lingerfelt is hopeful shoppers will spend their budget at Party City on Market Place Boulevard in Cumming.

Lingerfelt, the store’s general manager, said he’s been ready since the beginning of September with the year’s most popular costumes, decorations and candy.

“For children, the best selling costumes right now are Jessie from “Toy Story,” Buzz Lightyear from “Toy Story” and Iron Man,” he said. “‘Toy Story’ is a big theme and Iron Man is still doing pretty well too.”

For adults, “Alice in Wonderland” is having a big year, thanks to Tim Burton’s recent retelling of the Disney classic.

Lingerfelt said the title character and the Mad Hatter are the two biggest costumes from the movie.

“Star Wars” costumes continue to be an old favorite, he said.

Elyse Eilbert, an executive team leader with Cumming Super Target, said she’s seen the same costumes fly off the shelves, as well as princess costumes. Princesses and Spiderman are also the two most popular children’s costumes, according to the National Retail Federation.

Halloween candy goes quick at Target, said Eilbert, and “candy corn is always the biggest seller.”

The store’s been stocked up for Halloween for about three weeks and “we’ve already seen a lot of the costumes moving.”

“We’ll start to see our big costume rushes this weekend and every weekend going forward,” she said. “We’ve also got lots of great party supplies this year for anyone hosting Halloween parties.”

The retail federation said about 33 percent of people will throw or attend a party and half of those celebrating Halloween will decorate their home or yard.

For home decorations, a vampire theme is popular, Lingerfelt said. Tombstones and hanging decorations continue to be big sellers.

Decoration sales have been flat so far this year, he said, but people are still “coming in and buying decorations.”

“I guess they either want to add to what they’ve got, or they want to do a different theme,” he said.

Costumes and decorations can also be found at The Avenue Forsyth, where a Spirit Halloween store has opened.

For those last-minute shoppers, Lingerfelt said Party City stocks costumes year round and will have many still available on Halloween weekend.