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Costumes Help Dress Up Holiday Sales


By LaDonna Hadley, Contributor

Halloween may conjure up visions of costumed partygoers, but you don’t have to own a Halloween superstore to make a profit on apparel during this season. See how your retail apparel sales can soar, even if you don’t have a single costume on the rack.

No Tricks, Just Treats

There are probably more styles of Halloween costumes than there are varieties of Halloween candy. Consumers spent $7.9 billion on Halloween costumes in 2015, and this year’s numbers are expected to top $8.4 billion. But, there’s no need to fret if you don’t sell costumes — nearly 20 percent of people plan to make their own. This doesn’t mean they’re all headed to the fabric store, though; many will buy retail clothing as a basis and go from there.

Top Costume Staples

When you break down any costume into its rudimentary elements, you’ll likely find one or more components that can be purchased in a retail clothing store any time of the year. Apparel stores can cash in on the basic and timeless go-to pieces, such as the bodysuit. Consider these Halloween costume uses for this classic wardrobe essential:

  • A full-length bodysuit with kitty ears, long lashes and a rhinestone collar creates a sexy cat-woman.
  • A black bodysuit with a bandanna around the forehead and black slipper socks forms a ninja.
  • A beige, orange or blue bodysuit and a flesh-colored mask with safety emblem produces a crash test dummy.
  • A frilly apron with a long-sleeved leotard and a feather duster results in a French maid costume.
  • Wrist cuffs, a cape and a leotard of any color makes an instant superhero.

Button-down shirts are another staple that can create all kinds of classic and inventive costumes. Each Halloween, secretaries, nurses, school girls and a gamut of ghoulish professionals materialize with the aid of a simple Oxford-style shirt.

Bottoms Up to Best Looks

The best way to help customers complement a costume, be it well-planned or completely spontaneous, is to carry classics that are worn from the waist down. Keep these staples on your rack for those in search of that perfect party costume:

  • Leggings
  • Mini Skirts
  • A-line Skirts
  • Maxi-Skirts
  • Boy Shorts
  • Workout Clothes
  • Yoga Pants

Black, brown, gray and white are all good colors to stock up on, but order some prints and plaids as well, especially for the mini skirts. After the party is over, consumers will have a fashion staple they can wear to the office, at the gym, or for a night out.

Accessorize Your Sales

In addition to offering clothing staples that won’t hang in the back of someone’s closet until next year, consider adding an accessory aisle or display to your store. A few well-placed Halloween items, such as jewelry, makeup, hair accessories and hosiery, can inspire consumer shopping and creativity.

Share in the Fun

If you really want to spice up sales, have a social media contest. Ask your shoppers to post pics of costumes they create with your clothing, and award gift cards or other incentives to the winners. As a bonus, you’ll increase your ROI — one-third or more of your entrants will likely sign up for your emails and spend more time on your brand’s site.

Don’t mask your success during the Halloween season. With a little invention and a lot of fun, you can use these costume capers to keep your apparel flying off the rack this bewitching season.