By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
A tough economy doesn’t seem to be spooking Halloween plans.
Shops that specialize in costumes and party supplies are seeing a lot of enthusiasm for all things trick-or-treat.
“We had to reorder twice” before Oct. 1, said Gloria Shelby of Costume World in Tupelo. “People are ready to have fun. … I do think this is the best year so far that I’ve ever seen.”
It’s not just Northeast Mississippi that’s ready to play dress up. A National Retail Federation survey found shoppers plan to spend an average of $66.28, up about $10 from 2009 and even with 2008.
Slightly more than 40 percent – an all-time high for the Halloween consumer survey – are planning on a costume.
Although many people are still looking and trying to decide on their Halloween garb, folks who are buying do seem to be opening their wallets wider, said Amy Britt, manager of PartyWorks in Tupelo.
“They are definitely wanting to spend more money this year,” said Britt, who is seeing shoppers grab not only a costume but matching shoes and other accessories.
At Jo’s Costume Shop in Oxford, folks are starting to come in and reserve their Halloween get-ups for Halloween, said owner Jo Prewitt, who has some 3,500 costumes for rent.
“If they wait until the last minute, they don’t get exactly what they want,” said owner Jo Prewitt.
Halloween hasn’t taken over quite yet, but business has still been good. People come in for outfits for 1970s or ’80s-themed parties or costumes to add pizazz school report presentations.
This weekend, Prewitt has outfitted a large group in turn-of-the-century costumes for the 100th anniversary of a bank. Prewitt is hopeful the Halloween season will finish strong.
“We always count on a better year,” Prewitt said.
Already the hot costumes are going quick. PartyWorks has already sold out of its first batch of Toy Story costumes – more are on the way – and there’s a waiting list for Lady Gaga costumes.
The movies and pop culture seem to be driving a lot of the costume demand this year. Flirty, risque costumes are big sellers, too. The Grim Reapers and gory masks don’t seem to be selling as quickly as they have in past years.
“They’re going more for fun, not scary,” Shelby said.
And she’s well aware that the prime time for Halloween shopping are still ahead.
“We’ll be crazy in about another week,” Britt said.