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Independent retailers give their verdict on Halloween 2020

It was a long way from the Saturday Halloween the industry had been looking forward to at the start of the year, but according to reports it also seems that Halloween 2020 wasn’t the complete washout many feared it would be. With further Covid restrictions on the horizon, many consumers rushed to make the most of their last opportunity to celebrate for a while. spoke to a number of independent retailers across the UK to find out how the expectation around Saturday’s announcement affected those all-important last-minute sales.

jolly500“On the Friday and Saturday sales perked up and so Halloween 2020 ended up better than I’d feared. I was doing appointments only, and booking each customer a 15-minute slot. Some needed less, but some over-ran, especially family groups.

We had people waiting outside in the rain but they were good-humoured about it, even did a verse of ‘Singing In The Rain’ at one point! Four customers an hour wasn’t anything like a normal Halloween of course, but working on my own and being able to give customers their own safe space in the shop it turned out that a 15-minute slot was pitched about right. In the end, Saturday takings were about the same as a normal non-Halloween Tuesday.

Without those last-minute sales it would have been dire. On the Wednesday I really did doubt whether it would be worth opening for the rest of the week, but luckily it picked up!

The news of an impending lockdown definitely helped last-minute sales. Our area went from Tier 1 to Tier 2 on Friday, so when the news leaked out on Fri/Sat that another lockdown was imminent, there was a definite ‘let’s party’ vibe.

Kate Moore, owner, Jollyjesters, Derby

pete-spoon“From a purely financial numbers point of view, we were 40% down in sales over October last year. Most orders still came in over the last two week period of the month, which isn’t at all unusual.

Festival season across Europe is the next big sales period for us, I’m very nervous about this not happening as it can be bigger than Halloween for us.  With the virus and Brexit, there may be hard times ahead. Fingers crossed.”

Peter Hart, Fun Fancy Dress, Dorset

526523_10151832148370260_163074157_n“I have mixed feelings about Halloween – we were majorly down on what we’d normally expect, but were very pleasantly surprised about what we took considering the circumstances!

We were appalled by the attitude of some customers though – they found it acceptable to come into the store without masks, wearing their pyjamas, not understanding why they could not try on wigs or eye masks…”

Justin Heaven, owner, Fantasy World


sgirlessWe had a surprisingly good Halloween all things considered. We were only down by a few £thousand and have met all our stock bills which always worries me.

I found people had lots of parties, just on a smaller scale and parents were making great efforts to give their children the best experience and do everything as they usually would.”

Shirlee Gibbs, manager, The Dressing Up Shop, Hampshire

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