2016-10-17 / Front Page

Halloween + Election = Money, money, money

BUSINESS MATTERS
Rod Harmon


Sales of the Donald Trump “Cry Baby” mask, center, and the Hillary Clinton “#HBIC” mask, second from left, are top sellers nationally at Spirit Halloween. 
SUBMITTED PHOTO/Courtesy Spirit Halloween Sales of the Donald Trump “Cry Baby” mask, center, and the Hillary Clinton “#HBIC” mask, second from left, are top sellers nationally at Spirit Halloween. SUBMITTED PHOTO/Courtesy Spirit Halloween Halloween is big business. According to a recent consumer survey conducted by Prosper Insights for the National Retail Federation, Americans plan on spending a total of about $8.4 billion this year – an average of $82.93 per person – on costumes, decorations, candy and other Halloweenrelated items. That’s an all-time high, and firmly cements All Hallow’s Eve as the nation’s second-biggest marketing holiday behind Christmas.

The fact that 2016 is also a presidential election year is helping boost sales, as Americans prime themselves for the voting booth by dressing up as their favorite candidates. And sales of political masks have successfully predicted the next POTUS since 1996, when the national retailer Spirit Halloween debuted its Presidential Mask Index.

“Spirit Halloween’s Presidential Mask Index is an exciting and spirited way to bring together two American traditions – Halloween and Democracy,” said Spirit Halloween President and CEO Steven Silverstein in a pun-heavy press release. (Why should the Crypt Keeper have all the fun?)

So, who’s winning? As of Thursday, masks of Republican nominee Donald Trump were out-selling masks of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, said Spirit Halloween spokesperson Trisha Lombardo. If you take the Presidential Mask Index seriously, that means Trump will win on Nov. 8, right?

Not so fast. There’s a wrinkle this year.

Yes, Trump is outselling Clinton in the mask department. But while buyers of Clinton masks are going with the more traditional “#HBIC” mask (Google it if you like, because I can’t tell you what the acronym means in a family newspaper), buyers of Trump masks are going with the “Cry Baby” variety. So yes, more people are buying Trump masks – but to mock him, not support him.

“The top reason people are dressing up like Trump is to be silly, while those dressing up for Hillary are doing it to honor her,” Lombardo said in a phone interview.

OK, Clinton is going to win .

Or maybe not.

As it turns out, Spirit Halloween is also selling toilet paper emblazoned with the visage of each candidate. And Clinton’s toilet paper is outselling Trump’s by double digits.

In the end, it’s further evidence that this election cycle has been unpredictable on an historic level. And that when it comes to Halloween, it’s better to think about candy apples and chocolate bars than it is to think about the presidential election.

It leaves a much better taste in your mouth, too.

IT’S AUCTION TIME:

If I had any doubts that the holiday season no longer began in November but is now launching in October, they have been laid to rest by the Christmas displays in the big box stores and emails from area businesses and organizations.

That’s OK, though, because the latter are usually promoting a good cause.

Two area chambers of commerce are now seeking donations for their annual holiday auctions, the proceeds from which support the communities that they serve.

The Biddeford + Saco

Chamber of Commerce +

Industry is seeking donations for its 30th Annual

Chamber Holiday Auction, which will be held Nov. 5 at the Rochambeau Club in Biddeford.

The Chamber will donate $500 or 10 percent – whichever is greater – of the auction’s profits to the Biddeford Saco Rotary Club Red Ribbon Committee, which is committed to ending addiction to opiates and other harmful drugs.

For information on donating items or attending the auction, call 282-1567, email james@biddefordsacochamber.org or craig@biddefordsacochamber.org, or visit the website at biddefordsacochamber.org.

The Kennebunk- Kennebunkport-Arundel Chamber of Commerce is holding its 14th annual Holiday Auction on Nov. 16 at Old Vines Wine Bar in Lower Village, Kennebunk. This is one of the Chamber’s biggest fundraisers of the year. An online auction will precede the live auction from Oct. 26 to Nov. 14.

To donate items or for more information, call 967- 0857 or visit www.gokennebunks.com/pages/events/holidayauction.

— Rod Harmon is managing editor for the Journal Tribune. Send business news to rharmon@journaltribune.com.

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