Trick Or Treat! Halloween Fun Expected To Boost Retail Spending

By Caitlin Switzer

MONTROSE—Goblins, ghosts and witches may give you a shiver, but if you work in retail, Halloween probably makes you smile. After all, trick or treat isn’t just for kids anymore. According to the National Retail Federation, the average U.S. consumer spends $26.52 on costumes alone. Nationwide, Americans shelled out $1 billion for children’s costumes last year, $1.21 billion for adult costumes, and $310 million on costumes for cherished pets.

Pumpkins piled at the Downtown City Market are a sign of the times…for some retailers, consumer spending for Halloween rivals the traditional Holiday Season.

“Halloween is my very favorite time of year!” said Sandy Schlauger of Wild Rose Apparel (206 East Main). “It could be bigger than Christmas for some retailers…you can’t predict, but I am hoping for a good year. If the holiday is on a weekend it’s always better, but I think we’re all ready to get out and have some fun.”

During her 40 years as a downtown retailer, Schlauger has seen costume trends come and go. Wild Rose Apparel specializes in costumes for grownups. “The number one seller is always the

Naught Schoolgirl outfit,” Schlauger said. “A lot of ladies are looking for something kind of risqué.”

Men may be jumping on that bandwagon too, she noted.

“I have Magic Mike costumes for the guys,” she said. “They’re sleeveless!”

Also big are traditional witch and devil costumes—Schlauger herself won a prize last year for dressing as a witch. But don’t expect to as many costumes inspired by a certain movie this season.

“I don’t think anyone really wants to go as Batman,” said Schlauger, who sells costumes for local raves as well.

Sure, they sell lots of other things…but the scary monster selection is unmatched in the Halloween aisle at the Montrose Walgreens, shown here with store manager Rich Parr.

“My rave business is pretty good,” she said, adding that she has not yet decided what to dress as this year.

“One year I was a dominatrix,” she said. “That was fun! But I am losing weight this year, so I haven’t decided what to be yet.”

Scott Beyer of Scott’s Printing (315 South 12th) will probably spend a little less on Halloween this year—after shelling out five figures on giant Halloween parties over the past six years, Beyer has decided to travel instead this season.

“I love Halloween!” he laughed. “I live in a Halloween house. I probably have $100,000 invested in props! In years past we have hired limos so people would not drink and drive; the parties were so big we issued wrist bands.

“But the 600 or so people who came last year will have to find another party this year—we’re talking about going to New Orleans.”

One local who plans to stay in town is Jennifer Hemond, whose elaborate and funny costumes have won numerous prizes and generated applause over the years. Since 2006, Hemond and her husband have collaborated on costumes as a team.

“I used to do costumes with my friends, but when we got married he was excited to dress up with me,” Hemond said. “We’ll be at Turn of the Century again this year!”

So what will the couple dress up as this year?

“I won’t tell!” Hemond said.