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Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013 4:30 am

From local stores to Goodwill to national chain retail shops, Halloween is a money maker for a lot of businesses.

“Halloween is really our biggest time of the year,” said Kibry Killough, Heart of Texas Goodwill marketing director. “It is just one of the biggest times that people want to come in.”

Goodwill is just one local operation that tries to capture revenue people will spend this year on the holiday.

The National Retail Federation said about 158 million people will participate in Halloween activities, which is slightly less than last year’s projection of 170 million. Those celebrating Halloween are expected to spend an average of about $75 each to make up about $6.9 billion in projected sales.

Goodwill prepares for the holiday several months in advance to ensure its stores are stocked for the larger

patronage. The nonprofit sells packaged Halloween costumes, decorations and donated clothing people can use to make their own Halloween outfits.

“We definitely try to dig up all the old wedding dresses and prom dresses that people would be interested in for making their own costumes, and we try to push that when people come in looking for costumes,” Killough said.

Let’s Party Party Supplies starts planning for Halloween in February when it begins placing orders, said co-owner Laylah Jarbouh. Items start arriving in April and stocking is fully underway by June.

“(Halloween) is our Christmas, you could say,” Jarbouh said. “It is an important time for us as a party store business.”

Spirt Halloween, a national retailer for Halloween costumes, decor and supplies, works year-round to capture part of the market, said John Domeracki, owner for the company’s West Texas and Central Texas markets.

The company generally locates in sites vacated by other businesses during the Halloween season.

Locally, stores are in the Temple Mall and at Fort Hood’s Clear Creek Main Exchange store.

“We tried to get a space in Market Heights this year,” said Domeracki, noting the company wanted more store locations in the area. “The Killeen retail space is the hardest for us to book.”

The Halloween company, which has more than 1,100 locations in the U.S. and Canada, stays busy by selling a lot of products, especially costumes, Domeracki said.

“We do a pretty good volume, but it is all relative,” he said. “That is why we lease buildings for a couple of months out of the year.”

About $2.6 billion is expected to be spent this year in the United States on Halloween costumes, according to the National Retail Federation’s website.

Another $1.96 billion is projected to be spent on decorations for the holiday, which is second to Christmas.

About $2.08 billion will be spent on candy and an estimated $360 million on greeting cards, the federation website stated.

“It’s pretty much like another retailer’s Christmas,” Jarbouh said about the sales numbers. “It is a good time for us. It is what we wait for all year.”

Jarbouh often hires seasonal help to handle the larger crowds during October.

While most Halloween shopping is nearing its final days, all three businesses are expecting people to buy goods right up to Halloween.

“So far it has been a pretty positive year,” Domeracki said Wednesday. “We still have eight very important days to go. We are hoping it turns out to be a pretty good season.”

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