The amount of money Americans spend on Halloween usually climbs during presidential election years.
With a presidential campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton that is like no other in history, costume sales this year should be particularly robust.
Costume shops and other retailers are bracing themselves for what likely will be a record-setting season by stocking up not only on witches and super hero costumes, but on Trump and Clinton masks and outfits.
“This year is different,” said Erika Taylor, general manager of the Halloween Megastore on West Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa. She said sales have “tripled or quadrupled” for the candidate masks.
She has already sold about half of the 50 Donald Trump masks she ordered for the season. She said the store has carried Trump masks and wigs for years, and customers seem to be gravitating to his character more than ever.
“Donald Trump is a walking, talking joke on legs,” she said.
Meanwhile, she has about 25 Clinton masks, which haven’t been as popular so far. In past campaign years, she might stock just a handful for each candidate.
Spirit Halloween, a New Jersey-based retailer with 1,200 stores nationwide, has rolled out a full line of Trump and Clinton masks.
“We always have a mask for whatever candidate is running,” said Mike Windsor, area manager for Spirit Halloween. “The ongoing joke is that we predict the election by whatever mask sells more, though I’m not sure if that will be the case this year.”
The National Retail Federation forecasts that consumers will spend $8.4 billion on Halloween this year — more than any other year since the survey began in 2005. While 67 percent of Halloween shoppers said they will buy a costume, about 4 percent of older adults polled said they would will be dressing up as Trump or Clinton, according to the NRF.
Halloween sales last year were $6.9 billion. In the last election year, 2012, they were $8 billion, up 16 percent from the previous year. And in 2008, the year President Obama defeated Senator John McCain (and popular costume inspiration Sarah Palin) sales were $5.8 billion — up 14 percent from the previous year.