Halloween shops scared of slashed budgets

Halloween is fast approaching, and many people are finding they must be more creative when shopping for costumes on a limited budget.

Economists expect people to spend 15 percent less on costumes this year than last year, according to the 2009 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Action Survey. Many of those polled said they plan to spend less on candy and reuse the costumes they wore last year. That’s disappointing news for local retailers who hoped Halloween sales would get a boost from falling on a Saturday this year.

“Our customers are getting more creative,” said Cammi Dangler, rental supervisor at Mad Margaret’s, 807 N. First St.

Dangler said many customers are buying accessories such as wigs, masks and jewelry to be added to their own clothing. Some are buying latex to create their own masks. Costume kits, such as the “Billy Bob,” are popular because they come complete with costume accessories such as fake teeth or blood.

“Pirates and ‘Alice In Wonderland’ seem to be popular this year, so we are selling a lot of that kind of thing,” Dangler said.

Some parents are trading or swapping costumes with others, said Dawn O’Grady, owner of Animaloos in Fruita.

O’Grady started costume consignment in her store to help parents recycle used costumes.

“We’ve had lots of parents come in to look, so they get purchased quickly,” she said, adding she needs more costumes to sell. “Based on parent’s reactions, I’d say things are tight this year, and parents are looking for a way to cut cost on Halloween.”

Other consignment stores, such as the Fashion Junkie and Twice As Nice, are selling consignment costumes, too.

“We’ve seen it both ways this year. Some are spending a lot, and some are spending less,” Dangler said.

She suggests people on a budget should shop early to find the best deals. Mad Margaret’s offers weekly specials on accessories throughout the month of October.

Dangler said buying accessories such as wings, ears and tails, or a Mardi Gras mask would make a really simple costume when paired with a pair of sweats or a nice dress from home.

“Just by buying a few odds and ends, you should be able to come up with something,” Dangler said.


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