This Year’s Halloween Sales Expected to Increase after Quiet 2020

October 29, 2021

While supply chain problems are bringing uncertainty to the upcoming Christmas season, retail analysts are optimistic that Halloween will be a vast improvement over 2020. Last year, the pandemic largely prevented kids from trick or treating and discouraged many adults from having costume parties, leading to a multi-billion dollar drop in retail sales during the spooky season. With an increasingly vaccinated population and lifted restrictions across the country, though, sales from 2021’s Halloween festivities are expected to increase by 20 percent to more than $10 billion. 

Costumes are expected to be the biggest seller, with a survey from the National Retail Federation estimating that consumers will spend upwards of $3.2 billion on Halloween apparel. That’s a big difference from last year when costume sales plummeted as many people stayed home, with one costume shop claiming that their sales dropped by 80 percent compared to 2019. While apparel stores suffered last year, Halloween homebodies contributed to a big increase in sales of seasonal decor, such as a $320 12-foot tall skeleton that went viral on social media. This year, experts expect that consumers will spend more money on costumes to display in public rather than decorations at home (although Home Depot says the towering skeleton is selling out again in 2021). 

Nevertheless, the supply chain issues that are already looming over the holiday season are also threatening the anticipated bonanza of Halloween sales. “The fact that costume and decor sales are up 20 to 25%, coupled with pandemic-related supply issues, have resulted in empty shelves all across the country,” said Gregor Lawson, chairman of the industry trade group Halloween and Costume Association. Other retailers are reporting that items like masks, wigs, and makeup accessories are becoming harder to obtain as sales skyrocket. At the same time, candy supplies have remained largely stable as businesses expect an upsurge in trick-or-treating this year. 


  1. Why are retail sales during this year’s Halloween season expected to be a vast improvement over 2020?
  2. How are global supply chain problems affecting retailers that are selling out of Halloween items?

Source: Avery Hartmans, “Halloween Is Back: People Are Shelling Out for Candy, Costumes, and Decor After a Quieter 2020,” Business Insider, October 23, 2011.