Friday Halloween is both good and bad for business (mostly good)

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Halloween falls on a Friday this year, which means more opportunities for retailers to cash in on additional sales for both kids and adults.

“In other years, when it (Halloween) falls on a weekday, I feel like a lot of people are less apt to go out and actually do something,” Megan Garland tells Richard Anguiano of the Ocala Star-Banner. Garland is manager of Spirit Halloween, the costume shops that pop up in temporary locations during the holiday.

“The average person who works a 9-to-5 has that Saturday of recovery (this year),” she says.

But a Friday Halloween is also a challenge, as independent retailers struggle against big box retailers, such as Target and Walmart, which will put extra emphasis on Halloween merchandise.

It may not compare with Christmas or Thanksgiving as a national holiday, but over the past few years, Halloween has crept up in stature.

The National Retail Federation estimates Halloween sales will be up a few dollars this year, to $77 per participant.

Florida Retail Federation Executive Director Samantha Lee Stratton says that although it is not a “significant increase,” Halloween spending is “growing with the economy, as it should every year.”

“The cooler weather is certainly helping people get in the spirit of the shopping and the decorating,” Stratton tells the Star-Banner. “Gas prices are down and people just have that extra spending money, and they’re willing to put that into the economy.”

For Simply Unforgettable Party Shop General Manager Phillip Vitti, Halloween has become the biggest party day of the year, even more than New Year’s Eve and graduation season.

With more than 6,000 square feet of retail space in Ocala, Simply Unforgettable starts gearing up for Halloween around July 4. Vitti believes the real selling season begins about 10 days before Oct. 31. Since Halloween is at the end of the workweek, he says, more people will plan holiday-themed parties on Saturday, leading to higher sales.

As Halloween becomes more of an adult celebration, having it on Friday would seemingly be perfect for restaurants, clubs and bars.

But here, there are also (minor) drawbacks.

Anguiano writes that some local club owners, given the Friday holiday, are concerned they will see a slower than usual business on Saturday as partygoers recover from the night before.

“Ideally, you wish it was on a Saturday because we’d still have Saturday to run normal business from,” said South Pine Avenue entertainment complex General Manager David Whatley.

“When you have a good Friday, you can have a bad Saturday,” Whatley says. “They go bigger and harder on Friday and then Saturday’s probably more of a low-key day to relax.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.