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Politics scaring up Halloween costume sales

A survey conducted by specialty retailer Spirit Halloween, in collaboration with Harris Poll, found that 55 percent of adult participants said they would dress up as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
A survey conducted by specialty retailer Spirit Halloween, in collaboration with Harris Poll, found that 55 percent of adult participants said they would dress up as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. AP

A fresh scandal has taken a hit on Donald Trump’s poll numbers, but he still holds a 10-point lead over Hillary Clinton in one notable demographic: Halloween partygoers.

While young trick-or-treaters are looking to be heroic this year, with superhero costumes their preferred get-up, adults, as in most presidential election years, want to spoof politics with masks representing the candidates.

A survey conducted by specialty retailer Spirit Halloween, in collaboration with Harris Poll, found that 55 percent of adult participants said they would dress up as Trump, and 45 percent as Clinton. Thirty-nine percent said they wanted to dress like Trump “to be funny” and 31 percent said they chose Clinton because they “like her.” Thirty-two percent said they wanted to “mock” Trump with their mask, compared with 16 percent who wanted to mock Clinton.

Leading sales at Spirit Halloween is the “Cry Baby Trump” mask, spokeswoman Trisha Lombardo said in a statement.

With the election providing a solid source of sales, retailers are gearing up for a spooktacular holiday shopping season.

The National Retail Federation expects total Halloween spending to reach approximately $8.4 billion this year, the highest in the group’s 11-year history of tracking such sales. Americans are projected to spend $3.1 billion on costumes, $2.5 billion on candy, $2.4 billion for decorations and $390 million on greeting cards. Much of the spending is expected to happen within the first two weeks of October.

“Retailers are preparing for the day by offering a wide variety of options in costumes, decorations and candy, while being aggressive with their promotions to capture the most out of this shopping event,” president and CEO of the retail group Matthew Shay said in a statement.

Though the association doesn’t see a direct correlation between spending on Halloween and during the later holidays that include Thanksgiving and Christmas, it predicts a stable national economy and higher employment will benefit both.

The group expects the broader holiday season spending to rise 3.6 percent, to $655.8 billion.

Andrew Scarborough, co-founder of PriceWaiter, a site that runs e-commerce business for brick-and-mortar retailers, anticipates Halloween spending to surpass $10 billion by 2018. He expects online shopping for both costumes and candy to lead the sales growth.

“Consumer confidence in buying online continues to rise,” Scarborough said.

According to the National Retail Federation’s survey, 47 percent of consumers will shop at discount stores for Halloween goodies, 26 percent at grocery stores and supermarkets, 23 percent at department stores, 22 percent online and 36 percent at specialty Halloween and costume stores, which is up from 33 percent last year.

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