With the spookiest night of the year lurking just around the corner, stores and homes across the US and the UK – and, indeed, much of the world – are being decked out with supplies fit for the frightening festivities.
With its roots in the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain, Halloween has transitioned over the millennia from a somber pagan ritual to a day of elaborate revelries, costumes and sweet treats – and this means big business for retailers.
Despite a tough economic climate, the US spent a staggering $6.9bn on Halloween in 2015, with 81% of Americans celebrating the event. While we in the UK don’t go in for the occasion with quite the gusto of our friends across the pond, the craze has certainly reached these shores, with 29% of Britons buying Halloween-related retail goods last year and parting with over £300 million in the process  – up 2,500% since 2001 . In fact, the devilish day has become such a growing phenomenon that it is now the third biggest event for British retailers behind Christmas and Easter, and the UK’s second biggest party night after New Year’s Eve . Asda, for instance, tripled its costume stock and bought nearly 60% more makeup in 2015 than the year before, and Sainsbury’s stocked its shelves with nearly 300 Halloween-related items for shoppers to buy. Online, too, was swept into a ghoulish frenzy, with costumes sales averaging nearly 16,000 a day last year on eBay’s UK site .
In keeping with other seasonal events, Halloween merchandising has also grown exponentially in recent years, with retailers seizing the chance to indulge in a flight of fantasy and create some truly elaborate displays and packaging. From the obligatory tangle of cobwebs to plush velvets and gloomy interiors laden with garish orange boxes of spookily shaped treats, it’s certainly not an occasion for holding bac
So for those celebrating this year, summon your spirits and raise a glass to the ghosts and ghouls coming out to play!