Fright night: Halloween spending’s on the rise but can consumers celebrate without spooking the environment?

  • News
  • October 29, 2019
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Fright night: Halloween spending’s on the rise but can consumers celebrate without spooking the environment?

Halloween continues to grow in popularity among Kiwis. But it is possible to be more creative – and less wasteful – when celebrating it, say two major retailers who have gone head to head this year to ‘own’ Halloween. 

The Warehouse has positioned itself as ‘The Scarehouse’ while Spotlight has dubbed itself ‘The Home of Halloween’. 

But both retailers have taken a similar approach when it comes to encouraging consumers to get more creative, and perhaps a little less wasteful, this Halloween.

A recent survey by a British environmental charity, Hubbub, into the seasonal outfits available from 19 supermarkets and retailers found that 83 per cent of the material used was polluting oil-based plastic likely to end up in landfill.

If that’s anything to go by, one of the scariest things about Halloween is the waste. So can consumers and retailers still mark Halloween in a way that is less frightening for the environment? 

This year has seen The Warehouse focus on a ‘DIY Your Halloween’ campaign, says head of marketing for general merch, Jade McKenzie. 

“We have created a number of short ‘how to’ videos that will be posted on our channels focused around DIY-ing your own costumes and decorations.”

Meanwhile consumers can re-use and adapt costumes and decorations, or pass them on to relatives or neighbours, says Spotlight group PR & communications manager Nick Casey. Spotlight encourages its customers to alter, adapt and extend existing costumes for growing kids, he says. 

“We also encourage everyone to hold onto their decorations year on year, though next year there will definitely be something new to add to the collection. If you must throw out those cobwebs or balloons, do so responsibly.”

Meanwhile Halloween is growing around the world (even in the original ‘home of Halloween’, the US) and New Zealand is no exception. 

According to figures from the National Retail Federation (NRF), 68 per cent of Americans plan to celebrate the festival this year. 

US consumers are forecast to spend $86 per person on Halloween in 2019, which equates to billions of dollars in total. The NRF says that the top Halloween spending categories are $3.2 billion on costumes, $2.6 billion on candy, $2.7 billion on decorations and $390 million on greeting cards. 

Britons are also increasingly embracing Halloween. In 2018 more than half (51.5%) splashed out on it. This year Halloween spending is expected to reach a record £387 million, up 5.5% on last year. 

Although a 2018 Stuff poll found that only 19% of people enjoyed Halloween, it seems that Kiwis are increasingly celebrating it.

At online store Mighty Ape, sales in children’s Halloween costumes have seen 50% year-on-year growth and Harry Potter outfits do “consistently well”, says ‘chief marketing gorilla’ Gracie MacKinlay.

Adult costumes have only seen a small growth year-on-year but top sellers include the “mall dress” worn by Eleven in the latest series of Stranger Things and a Jurassic World inflatable T-Rex costume. 

Spotlight has seen sales increase for Halloween in all of its markets – New Zealand, Australia and Asia - every year, says Casey. 

Spotlight’s Halloween sales grew almost 6% in 2018, he adds, and this year “is projected to outstrip that. We’re on track to sell over 200,000 units across our Spooky Hollow brand.”

“The idea of Halloween being a purely ‘American’ tradition is fading, with more families celebrating by ‘trick or treating’ or throwing a party at home.”

The Warehouse would not reveal Halloween sales figures, but McKenzie agrees that more Kiwis are celebrating. 

“We have found that Halloween increases in popularity every year in New Zealand with more families wanting to join in on the celebration. Families love the excitement of dressing up the kids and bringing the community together for a night of fun.”

The Warehouse has positioned itself as the home of celebrations, she says, so “it’s important that the retailer owns Halloween as the ‘one stop shop’ for all Halloween needs. We want customers to love Halloween for less and make it easy by offering everything under one roof”.

At Spotlight the focus is on creativity, says Casey.

“Halloween is the perfect excuse for people to unleash their creativity, whether it’s dressing up, decorating the house, baking something gooey and gross, or simply just throwing on some face paint. 

“Spotlight stands for empowering self-expression and allowing families to be creative together, which aligns perfectly with Halloween. [It’s] less about being spooky and gory and more about creativity and fun.”

Back at the Warehouse, McKenzie says that customers love the creativity side of Halloween, too. Retailers can use social media to harness this.

 “We know that customers are always looking for fresh inspiration and ideas around Halloween, so social media channels are the perfect place for us to provide new ideas and inspiration.”

Social media is also “paramount in driving excitement for Halloween,” adds Casey. “More family-oriented social influencers are dressing their kids up and who doesn’t love a chance to show off their perfect eyeball cupcakes? We’re seeing more content creators over this side of the world put their unique spin on Halloween.”

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Gem Retail Hotlist: Benjamin Black and regional retail

  • News
  • December 12, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Gem Retail Hotlist: Benjamin Black and regional retail

Our 'Best provincial retailer: South Island' award was hotly contested in the Gem Retail Hotlist, but in the end, it was Nelson jeweller Benjamin Black that won. Find out more about this boutique craft jeweller.

Read more

The retail diary: December / January

  • News
  • December 11, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
The retail diary: December / January

The Register and NZ Retail team has rounded up retail-relevant events and important dates for December and January.

Read more

Kiwis predicted to spend more on Christmas than Australians

  • News
  • December 11, 2019
  • Makayla Wallace-Tidd
Kiwis predicted to spend more on Christmas than Australians

New research has found that Kiwis will be spending up large on Christmas in 2019 while Australians will be taking a more conservative approach to the Christmas budget. However, Kiwis are still focused on trying to lower their Christmas spending, and retailers have been warned to keep pricing strategies transparent.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
Sponsored content

Christmas music: to carol or not to carol

It’s that time of year again when retailers across the country ask themselves whether they should start playing Christmas music.


Gem Retail Hotlist: Allbirds' Tim Brown is our Retail Visionary

  • News
  • December 11, 2019
  • Catherine Murray
Gem Retail Hotlist: Allbirds' Tim Brown is our Retail Visionary

In the Gem Retail Hotlist, 'Retail Visionary' is one of our most special awards. This year we awarded it to Tim Brown of Allbirds. Here's the scoop on this innovative sneaker brand.

Read more

From concept to closet: New Zealand’s apparel industry in 2019

Held at the end of August, New Zealand Fashion Week is an annual focal point for local designers and those interested in their products. But ...

Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit