NCA executive director Ed Avis takes a look at what this Halloween will look like for the American costume industry as Covid continues to affect social gatherings and celebrations.
“Are you worried about Halloween? All of us in the costume industry are worried that not enough people will celebrate Halloween this year due to Covid.
Ironically, for years we’ve been telling members of the National Costumers Association (NCA) to focus on other costume-related events to increase business... and diversify the income streams of our members.
Despite those efforts, Halloween has continued to play a big role in our many of our members’ lives.
So now we have to help Halloween happen. How? At the NCA, we are taking a multi-pronged approach. Firstly, we have been educating our members about safe Halloween practices, such as how to help customers choose costumes without trying them on, how to safely clean returned rental costumes, how to manage customer flow in your store, etc.
Secondly, we are helping our members encourage Halloween events in their communities. We are suggesting no-touch events, parades, contests and other activities that communities can hold without worrying too much about spreading the virus.
Naturally, the idea behind these events is to increase the number of people buying costumes. But the members of the NCA are mostly independent bricks-and-mortar stores, so a key element of our campaign is that the costume shops – our members – need to place themselves at the center of these events, so that local residents become aware of their businesses and shop there for their costumes.
There is already a powerful ‘shop local’ sentiment this year, as so many stores have suffered due to Covid, so it’s the perfect time to remind potential customers that buying from a independent costume shop supports the local economy way more than buying from Amazon or Walmart!
Halloween will happen, of course, no matter what the virus is doing come late October. People will still want to dress up and decorate their homes. But we’re hoping that a little extra effort on our part can help make the holiday as profitable for costume businesses as possible this year.”