In past years of economic difficulties, Halloween still managed to bolster retail sales figures as people purchased candy, costumes and decorations despite financial woes. Last year, despite the recession, Halloween resulted in between five to six billion dollars in sales for the retail sector. This year, however, as I look about my hometown of Rochester, NY, I'm seeing less costume shops and Halloween supplies available than I did at this time last year.
Last year one of the most popular local haunted attractions, Fear at Frontier (see Frontier Field/Fear at Frontier), chose to skip the season. It now appears that they have chosen not to reopen for 2009 as well. I was then saddened to learn from artist Larry Moss that due to lack of donations his Balloon Manor Halloween event (see Balloon Manor) was also going to have to skip this year. It has left me wondering what other haunted attractions are keeping their doors closed this year, or have possibly had to change venues due to the economy. It also has me wondering about the impact on ghost tours. Casey mentioned to me that a ghost tour local to him is skipping the 2009 season. I had actually been wondering if haunted attractions being closed might drive further business toward guided ghost walks and spooky-themed bus tours. Tours require far less staff and materials than a haunted attraction and despite the economy there are bound to be a large number of folks who will be in search of creepy Halloween thrills.
What is happening with the haunts and tours near you? Have you noticed any changes this year in your local retailers gearing up for the Halloween season? Do you plan on laying low this Halloween? Or are you going all out to spread and enjoy the Halloween spirit?
If you are a haunted attraction owner or an operator of a macabre-themed tour that is running this year, please give us a shout. We'll make sure to plug your business on our Web site.
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