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LI retailers expecting scary-big Halloween sales

One top Halloween costume for kids is expected

One top Halloween costume for kids is expected to be Anna, from Disney's "Frozen." This magical dress features a black velour bodice decorated with a floral scroll design and plastic character cameo. Wig sold separately. Photo Credit: Party City

With Halloween falling on a Friday for the first time since 2008, analysts and retailers expect the extended holiday weekend will translate into big bucks for Long Island businesses, with a record number of consumers buying costumes, taking kids trick-or-treating and throwing parties.

"It makes a huge difference when you have Halloween on a Friday," said Marshal Cohen, retail analyst with The NPD Group, a Port Washington-based market research company. "You get mom and dad getting dressed and engaging in activities for themselves. The younger generation will dress up with greater propensity."

Stores selling costumes, decorations and food should benefit.

Halloween sales nationally are expected to reach $7.4 billion this year, up from nearly $7 billion last year, according to the National Retail Federation. The average person will spend $77.52 on the holiday, compared with $75.03 last year.

About $2.8 billion will be spent on spooky and fun garb to wear, with celebrants shelling out $1.1 billion on children's costumes, $1.4 billion on adult costumes and $350 million on pet costumes. Celebrants will also spend $2.2 billion on candy and $2 billion on decorations, according to the NRF.

"Whenever Halloween falls on or near a weekend, everyone in the industry experiences an increase in sales because of adults buying Halloween costumes and decorations," said Howard Beige, executive vice president for Richmond Hill, Queens-based Rubie's Costume Co. Inc., which calls itself the world's largest manufacturer of Halloween costumes and accessories. "All of the stores that we deal with are reporting very healthy sales for this Halloween."

With one-third of Americans planning to throw or attend a party and two-third of celebrants expected to buy Halloween costumes, according to the NRF, seasonal shops like Spirit Halloween will keep its 12 locations on Long Island open until the first week of November.

For Long Island Costume in Hauppauge, the holiday season begins at the end of August, since about 30 percent of its yearly business comes from Halloween costume sales. The 14,000-square-foot store houses more than 45,000 costumes, ranging from $15 to $200.

"When Halloween is on a school night it hurts a little, but when it is a Friday night it is a good party night," store manager Sharon Tiskowitz said.

About 57 percent of commercial and community Halloween events on Long Island will be held between Friday and Nov. 2 with an average $30 ticket price, according to Eventbrite, an online event ticketing service based in San Francisco.

"Halloween and Halloween parties are the more searched terms on Eventbrite on Long Island," Eventbrite spokeswoman Lauren Busley said. "Several small businesses on Long Island are also holding Halloween events that will help get the word out about their businesses."

Brianna Mutell, 23, of Ronkonkoma, stayed away from popular costumes featuring Ninja Turtles, characters from the animated movie "Frozen," and superheroes like Batman, the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. Instead, she went for a Catwoman outfit that she plans to wear during her shift at a tea shop.

"I am Halloween obsessed," said Mutell as she shopped inside of Long Island Costume, adding she attends Manhattan's Village Halloween Parade every year. "I feel now that it is going to be on a Friday it will be very insane."

Many party-goers are searching for the right costume for themselves, their families and even their pets to impress friends and post on social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, said Danielle Conte, retail consultant and founder of customer shopping experience blog YoutailRetail.com.

"Social media is really contributing to the growth of Halloween," said Conte, who is based out of Centerport. "People like to brag about their costumes, the craft they're making, their decorations and their special food items."

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