You still have a few more days to get that Halloween biz feature in and what could be a more beguiling premise than a puppy dressed as a hot dog, Elvis or an alien? As The Washington Post slide show reveals, owners these days are going to great length to make sure Rover is rocking All Hallow’s Eve. (My vote goes to the disabled rescue pup whose hind-legs wheelchair was turned into the Grinch’s sleigh!)
As NJBiz.com reports, the dressing of pets is a real and growing business story, with animal owners expected to spend more than $370 million this year on costumes for Fluffy and Fido. And as the Orange County Register chimes in on that figure from the National Retail Federation, pet costumes are generating $60 million more than last year – a huge jump and one that is propelling this Halloween to a decade high in terms of spending.
Other Halloween-related business angles:
Workplace rules on costumes and celebrations. How are area employers handling Halloween, especially since it falls mid-week this year? Is it a free-for-all in terms of costumes and inter-office trick-or-treating, or are religious, political and other sensitivities being addressed by Human Resources? The workplace blog GlassDoor.com surveyed workers and found that 46 percent were not aware of any HR policy regarding costumes, and only about 10 percent plan to dress up. Most would like permission to leave early; is that a common Halloween perk in your region? As a sidebar, talk with human resources manager about career-busting Halloween moves and which costumes to avoid at the work site, even in places with no stated policy.
Oddball Halloween tie-ins. My e-mail contains Halloween-related promotions and pitches from a major housecleaning chain, a florist service, a gourmet fruit mail-order company and myriad other companies that don’t exactly spring to mind when the words “Trick or Treat” are uttered. Outback Steakhouse is offering a free kids’ meal & Find the Treat contest, Sirius XM radio is replaying Halloween radio classics, Simon & Schuster delivered a Halloween reading list and PhotoStamps is exhorting customers to put a Halloween image on postage. You could scope the web and your own spam e-mails to create a round up of Halloween-related promotions, savings, contests and coupons for consumers to cash in on.
Meanwhile, Halloween is followed quickly by Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a traditional Mexican holiday for celebrating deceased family members with dance, costumes and other rituals. As Cinco de Mayo has become a common day for partying in the U.S., I have noticed an increasing number of Dia de los Muertos references and merchandise lately; as you can see by this list of 2012 events, it’s even celebrated overseas now. Most calendars list the official day as Nov. 2 but parties are starting as far north as Chicago this weekend.
A good bit of Dia de los Muertos merchandise is offered online and at stores like Party City — and believe it or not, casinos are featuring a bilingual slot machine dubbed Dia de Muertos and featuring the dancing skeletons and other images associated with the holiday. I think a story about purchasing and spending associated with Dia de los Muertos, if you can find any activity in your region, would make an informative and original foil to the perennial Halloween articles. It’s a good feature, but also would be a great basis for a discussion of demographics, niche marketing and other topics of import to retailers, restaurants and other venues.