CONSUMERS have given hard-pressed retailers a pre-Christmas spending bonanza with a splurge on Halloween decorations -- and pumpkins.
The season is growing in popularity "year on year", according to a spokesman for Tesco, which, like many retailers, is selling Halloween costumes and decorations.
But the most surprising must-have item this year is the humble pumpkin, with retailers struggling to meet demand.
Another break from the past is that it's no longer just the children who are getting dressed up -- Tesco reported a 30pc surge in the sale of adult costumes.
It's been a "bumper year" for pumpkins, said a spokesman for the chain, with demand up 30pc on last year. The retailer's 52,000 pumpkins -- which are grown just outside Dundalk in Co Louth -- have been flying out the door.
Meanwhile, the Road Safety Authority has said parents should ensure their children wear reflective armbands when trick or treating this Halloween so they can be seen.
"Children should be accompanied by an adult wearing a high-visibility vest, and carry torches, to make sure this Halloween is a safe and fun one," said RSA chief Noel Brett.
In addition, Housing and Local Services Minister Michael Finneran has warned of the dangers of bonfires because burning combustible materials may lead to serious injuries.
"Parents should only buy flame-resistant costumes," he added.
Gardai have also issued a warning about the use of fireworks, saying that the use, sale or possession of fireworks is illegal.