SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Nicole Ginsburg has been working professionally at haunted houses – or haunting as she calls it – for 15 years.
As part of her job, Ginsburg attends professional trade shows around the country.
What she’s seen over the years is that the business of Halloween has grown, but Ginsburg said her position has also exposed her to an interesting trend in Halloween events.
“So, it’s a catch-22, right? Because of the increase of popularity means that there’s an increase in supply, which also decreases the demand. So, there’s gonna be a potential, I would say, in the next five years that there’s gonna be a major cannibalization of a lot of these events,” she said.
Ginsburg works at Frightmare Farms Haunted Scream Park in Fulton. It’s an understatement to say that she and the rest of the crew love Halloween.
Ginsburg said she tells those who get into the haunted house industry to not expect to become millionaires. For example, Frightmare Farms was only open 11 nights this year. They’ve been open for as few as eight nights in the past. Heavy rains limited them this year. There are other considerations as well. Zoning, advertising and balancing spooky season with other fall cultural events, like the start of school in September, all affect planning.
That said, Halloween’s popularity is on the rise. Ginsburg said there were recently 17 trunk-or-treat events in the Fulton area. The cast of Frightmare Farms closed out this year’s performance season on Sunday in high spirits, eager to put on a show. Both the performers and customers embraced a dreary fall evening for one last scare.
The National Retail Federation interprets Halloween’s popularity another way. It said Americans are expected to spend about $12 billion this year. That’s a new record.
The federation said spending is led by young spenders and social media trends inspiring costume and party ideas. There might also be a lingering bump from the return to activity in a post-pandemic world.
The average American is expected to spend $108.24 combined on a costume, candy and other supplies. That beats the previous record of $102.74 set in 2021. Total gross spending is up across several categories.
Spending on costumes is expected to total $4.1 billion, up from $3.6 billion last year. Total spending on candy is expected to be $3.6 billion, up from $3.1 billion last year.
Store manager Marissa Dooley works at Spirit Halloween in Mattydale.
Dooley said her store easily meets sales quota. For example, the store made $100,000 in revenue on Friday and Saturday combined. Dooley said the spending won’t stop after Halloween.
“People are now excited for, like, the 50% off that we start on Nov. 1. And they go crazy in here. And probably buy nothing they really need but everything that they want,” she said.
She said people began buying Halloween supplies in August. Both the professional spooker and the average Joe swarm her store. She said the Wednesday Addams costume has been particularly popular.
Ginsburg said the spending on jump scares and zombies suggests a deeper meaning to Halloween.
“Scary things are happening all the time. However, on that day, one day out of the year, that’s now turned into a season, your become fearless, right? You face your fears. And as we say here ‘you live your screams,'” she said.