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Halloween Grows Economic Muscles In San Diego

Aired 10/22/12 on KPBS News.

Halloween is scaring up lots of business at costume shops in San Diego this month.

— Halloween has mushroomed into a major economic force in recent years, and you just have to go to a costume shop to see the proof.

Halloween Grows Economic Muscles In San Diego
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Erika Williams is hoping to a find costume close to the outfit her son will wear this year.

"I was looking for a ninja costume, but I might have to change what I started with. It might be a Zorro now, I like Zorro," said Williams laughing.

Williams is is preparing to spend $20 or $30, maybe even more at Buffalo Breath Costumes to get into the Halloween spirit. Gil Asprin is scanning the racks looking for just the right wardrobe items for his outfit.

"Scary clown. Yeah. Of course," He chuckles. "I have a fear of clowns so I figured if I dressed as one then it wouldn't be as bad."

Asprin is among the 70 percent of Americans who are helping turn this holiday into an economic juggernaut.

The National Retail Federation says $7 billion will be spent on Halloween related items this month. That's up from about $6 billion just four years ago.

Store manager Molly Muller has worked at Buffalo Breath Costumes for years. She said they do about 60 percent of their business in October. And, the closer it gets to Halloween, the busier the store is. That means she has to be prepared for the rush.

"There's always something," said Muller. "It is not like we ever run out of costumes. Even if they show up five minutes before the party. I've had people come in and put it on and wear it out the door."

This store is open year round and has costumes for sale, and high end costumes for rent. A lot of costume stores pop up in local malls this time of year. They fill up an empty storefront for a month and then pack things up until next year.

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