Retail gets into the Halloween spirit

An employee at a Chicago costume shop arranges masks.

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JEREMY HOBSON: Just a few shopping days left until Halloween. And I don't have a costume yet. I could spend $365,000 on the original Darth Vader costume. Or maybe not.

But as Marketplace's Eve Troeh reports, we're all going to spending a bit more this Halloween.


Eve Troeh: Consumers may be spooked about the overall economy, but Halloween sales are expected to grow 4 percent this year. That's got retailers thinking...

"It's alive!"

More stores want in on the Halloween act. At Los Angeles boutique Matrushka, designer Laura Howe added homemade costumes to the custom party dresses in her display window.

Laura Howe: It's really pulled people into the store.

The costumes sold out, so she and partner Gina Rogers are making more.

TROEH: Let's see, six pink things sticking out of a black and white cow dress. So those would be ...

HOWE: The utters.

Prices range from $30 to $60. Big retailers Target and Victoria's Secret have designer costumes, too. Those go up to $200.

Costumes may seem frivolous when money is tight. But retail analyst Wendy Liebmann says Halloween is a recession-friendly holiday.

WENDY LEIBMAN: Cheap thrills, absolutely. And everybody happy for a moment, inexpensively.

Unlike those other holidays around the corner, Halloween doesn't come with plane tickets, gifts, or fancy meals to worry about.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.

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