Deedee Fronius is going all out this year with Halloween decorations.
“I want to do everything to make this crazy holiday the best and safest possible for the kids, because they have been through so much this year,” said Fronius, who lives in Centennial Hills.
She began planning for a Halloween like no other in mid-August. To accommodate health and safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic, she plans a touchless candy delivery system using PVC pipes to drop sweets to trick-or-treaters. She estimates she has spent more than $300 so far for the big night.
“I have certainly spent more money on Halloween decorations this year,” she said, “but I also think a lot of it is replacing items.”
Halloween spending is projected to take a hit this year because of the broad impacts of COVID-19, but retail industry insiders say those who are celebrating, like Fronius, are expected to spend big on decorations and candy. The outlook for spending on costumes, though, is murky, according to one local seller.
Candy corn and hanging heads
The National Retail Federation estimates more than 148 million Americans plan to celebrate the spooky this year, down from last year’s 172 million.
The group expects total Halloween spending to reach $8.05 billion this year — down 8 percent from last year — with each shopper spending an average of $92.12, according to a recent federation report.
“Although fewer are celebrating this year, the ones who are aren’t shying away from Halloween-related purchases, are spending $11 more on average, primarily on decorations and candy,” said Phil Rist of Prosper Insights, the firm that analyzes spending data for the NRF, in a statement.
Nevada residents are projected to spend a combined total of $41.4 million on home decorations and $38.5 million on candy, according to the Retail Association of Nevada.
Trick-or-treaters can expect to see tombstones and skeletons scattered across Fronius’ yard, with Halloween inflatables, flying ghosts on an elaborate pulley system, strobe lights and projectors, and more. She already has spent more than $45 on candy, $70 on skeletons and $50 a piece for inflatables.
Five minutes away, most of Tiffany Garcia’s house is already decorated. The front is a re-created Disneyland’s ‘Haunted Mansion Holiday’ attraction. The backyard is themed “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Garcia said she has already made a Costco run and purchased more than $250 on Halloween candy, the same amount of candy she normally buys, in anticipation of a strong showing of neighbors this year. They will have a huge treasure chest of candy outside their door.
“The kids in our neighborhood have already been talking about it,” Garcia said. “The kids are already going through so much with being out of school and everything, and I just want to make sure they have a great holiday.”
In years past, the family would turn the garage into a haunted house, but they’re scraping that this year because of the pandemic.
For those that make Halloween sweets, sales are looking strong.
Chocolate and candy sales are already up 13 percent compared with last year, according to the National Confectioners Association.
But the same can’t be said about costumes.
Halloween is supposed to be one of the busiest times of year for Marc Salls’ Star Costume and Theatrical Supply store.
But not this time.
“We were expecting a banner year for Halloween, but we have no idea what to expect,” Salls said.
The Retail Association of Nevada estimates state spending to total $41.8 million on costumes, down from last year’s projected $50.2 million.
Normally, about 40 to 50 casinos, bars and taverns place costume orders for Halloween events. This year, he has received zero orders.
“Usually, they talk to us months in advance in regards to their themes and what they’re thinking of, and in availability of costuming and accessories,” Salls said. Orders from local businesses account for roughly 30 percent of his annual Halloween sales, he said.
There has been a shift in some of the costumes for 2020.
Most of the costumes he ordered at the beginning of the year won’t come because of delays in movie releases, he said.
Blockbuster films slated for 2020 releases like “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Mulan” have had theatrical release dates pushed back or have skipped the U.S. box office altogether and went straight for premium video on demand.
“What we had anticipated as our Top 30 included those films,” Salls said. “We prepared and purchased those, but we’re not seeing those costumes coming in.”
Costume orders for superheroes and “Game of Thrones” are still popular favorites though, he said.
Salls said he still expects people to costume and celebrate: “It’s just them figuring out how they’re going to be able to do it.”