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Published: Wednesday, 10/6/2004

Retailers foresee ghoul times

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Customers survey the possibilities at Costume Holiday House on Monroe Street Customers survey the possibilities at Costume Holiday House on Monroe Street
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After a scary drop in sales last year, area retailers of Halloween-related merchandise said this year is shaping up to be more of a treat than a trick.

"It's getting crazy here now. Right now we're up from last year," said Mike Cairl, owner of Star Design Costumes in Toledo.

"For us, it's been up quite a bit - about 15 percent. For this early in the season, that's pretty good."

Other retailers report similar good starts.

"We're seeing people coming in shopping, but not necessarily buying yet," said Gary Buerk, owner of Kostumes Ltd. in Perrysburg. "This is about to be a good five-week run for me."

The National Retail Federation said spending for the Halloween season is expected to reach $3.1 billion this year, up from $3 billion last year. It forecast the average person will spend $43.57 this year on merchandise, up from $41.77 last year.

Ina Blazer, manager of the Costume Holiday House in Toledo, agreed that things are looking up.

Makenna McNutt, 5, is stoic during a fitting by Costume Holiday House's Ina Blazer for a firefighter costume. Makenna McNutt, 5, is stoic during a fitting by Costume Holiday House's Ina Blazer for a firefighter costume.
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"We've been busy every day for the last 2 to 3 weeks," she said. "I think sales are going to be up this year and it seems to me people are spending more."

She has hired twice as many part-time employee this year as last to help with early strong sales. Mr. Buerk and Mr. Cairl said they too have added employees earlier than usual.

Halloween is the second-biggest decorating holiday of the year, according to the retail federation. However, in terms of overall spending, it ranks sixth behind Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, and Father's Day because Halloween traditionally is not a gift-giving holiday for which consumers engage in large spending.

Contact Jon Chavez at:

jchavez@theblade.com

or 419-724-6128.



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