The Australian Suburbs That Spend The Most On Halloween
Halloween is suddenly big business in Australia and we've got the stats on which areas are spending the most to get into the spooky spirit.
While we're well into the traditional pumpkins, skeletons and spiderwebs, Aussies are also putting their own spin on a historically Americanised celebration.
"A new trend we’re seeing for Halloween is the carving of watermelons," Woolworths' Paul Harker told 10 daily.
Woolworths said it would sell nearly double the number of watermelons during the Halloween period than the same period in September, and attribute the sudden spike to Jack-o-lantern carving.
"Aussies’ love for Halloween continues to grow as they look for new and innovative ways to celebrate the spooky season," Harker said.
Greg Davis, chief executive of commercial at Coles, said his stores saw similar watermelon trends, with even pineapples popular choices for carving "spooky decorations".
While some Aussies are putting an antipodean spin on historic Halloween happenings, many are also sticking to the traditional fare.
Woolies expects to sell 200 tonnes of pumpkins this month alone, 20 percent more than in October 2018, while Coles says its figures might be close to 260 tonnes.
Woolworths said Queensland will buy the most pumpkins, with 48 tonnes sold in that state alone, while Sydney's Double Bay and Balmain are the highest pumpkin-buying areas in NSW.
Online retailer Costume Box said it had delivered the most costumes to Mosman, Orange, Broken Hill, Manly and Castle Hill in NSW. The entire top 10 on its list are NSW suburbs, with the first interstate entries being Sunbury in Victoria and South Headland in Western Australia.
We're dubbing them Australia's spookiest suburbs.
IS YOUR SUBURB 'SPOOKY'? READ THE FULL LIST BELOW
Coles said market research found one in three Australian adults would take part in Halloween this year -- from decking their house out in decorations, to trick-or-treating, or dressing up for a party.
It's even higher for 18 to 34-year-olds, with half of that age group getting involved in 'Goth Christmas'.
That's good news for celebration suppliers like Dean Salakas, who runs The Party People, billed as "Australia's largest party store".
Even a few years ago, Halloween was a big seller for his chain, but not a huge cultural event.
But in 2019, Salakas said demand has exploded to the point where he now runs a massive Melbourne pop-up Halloween store, which he claims is potentially the biggest in the southern hemisphere.
"Growth in Halloween in Australia is outstripping growth in the USA and internationally, and we're still in a growing phase with a long way to go," he told 10 daily.
"It's very mainstream now. Every daycare centre, every school, every nightclub does something. It's now part of tradition. I'm amazed by how much it keeps growing."
Salakas said supermarkets and department stores had recently fully embraced Halloween in ways they hadn't previously -- but despite far more competition in the market, his sales had still risen sharply, which he attributed to ballooning demand.
Salakas' 3000 square-metre Halloween Alley pop-up at Westfield Knox, east of Melbourne, stocks 15,000 spooky items -- from cheap decorations and costumes to expensive animatronics.
It's a partnership with a Canadian retailer which operates similar pop-ups across North America, but Salakas said this was the first time Australian demand warranted such a set-up.
"We sell animatronics, giant characters like zombies, for $500 to $800. We've sold several a day for the last nine weeks. That wouldn't have happened even two years ago," Salakas said.
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AUSTRALIA'S TRICK OR TREAT MAPS:
- maps via trickortreatme.com
CostumeBox, an online retailer, projected a 25 percent sales jump in 2019 compared to Halloween 2018, where it sold 140,000 costumes.
Elita Pollard, the owner of Sydney Costume Shop, has worked in the party business for 30 years. She has watched Halloween in Australia grow from a more niche celebration to a mainstream phenomenon.
"Far more people now dress up their houses. People used to go looking at Christmas lights, now you go looking at Halloween houses," she told 10 daily.
"Whole streets do it. Parents say they hate it, but it's becoming so massive that you have to do it."
Salakas put the sudden popularity explosion down to social media, with American celebrities posting photos of elaborate or funny costumes -- plus online news articles on the best celebrations or decorations.
"Everyone thinks 'everyone else is doing it, I've got to do it too'," he said.
Pollard also said Oktoberfest had recently become a big seller, as young people rent German-themed costumes for the traditional celebration.
"The whole of October is now huge," she said.
Both Pollard and Salakas said the hot trends of Halloween 2019 were scary clowns, inspired by the recent 'It' horror movies - where Pennywise the clown terrorises a group of children.
"We sold out of those costumes last week," Pollard said.
Netflix sci-fi series 'Stranger Things' is also big business at The Party People.
"Other than that, it's been clowns again," Salakas said.
"Last year scary clowns were big, but they're the hot thing this year. Zombies and vampires, not so much, and superheroes not as popular, which I was surprised by."
"Maybe superheroes are done."
THE SUBURBS THAT SPEND THE MOST ON HALLOWEEN COSTUMES:
1. Mosman, NSW
2. Orange, NSW
3. Broken Hill, NSW
4. Manly, NSW
5. Castle Hill, NSW
6. Baulkham Hills, NSW
7. Kellyville, NSW
8. Goulburn, NSW
9. Glenmore Park, NSW
10. Frenchs Forest, NSW
11. Sunbury, VIC
12. South Headland, WA
13. Vaucluse, NSW
14. Maroubra, NSW
15. Randwick, NSW
16. Bellevue Hill, NSW
17. Upper Coomera, NSW
18. Greystanes, NSW
19. Baldivis, WA
- List based on Costume Box's biggest selling areas in Australia, 2019.