Halloween 'bigger than Valentine's'
Supermarkets are about to place millions of pounds of Halloween stock on shelves in preparation for what has become one of the UK's main seasonal events, they said.
Tesco has launched its biggest Halloween campaign yet, saying it expected to sell £55 million of Halloween-related goods including 1.4 million pumpkins, 2 million toffee apples and 1.5 million fancy dress costumes.
Tesco UK marketing director Carolyn Bradley said Halloween had overtaken Valentine's Day to become one of the year's main seasonal events, with sales almost trebling since 2005.
Ms Bradley said: "Halloween has overtaken Valentine's Day so that today only Christmas and Easter are bigger. It's even on a par with our combined sales of Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day, so families really are putting horror and haunting festivities ahead of love and romance.
"This year, with Halloween falling on a Sunday, customers will be looking to celebrate at the weekend. Research from last year revealed that the size of Halloween parties is growing for people in their late teens and 20, with parties of 60 people now becoming the norm.
"We have responded by increasing the range of adult costumes as this has proved to be the biggest area of growth."
Asda, which introduced Halloween to its shoppers 10 years ago on the back of its links to American retail giant Walmart, said the event was growing 12% year-on-year.
Animation and decoration lines were up 100% year-on-year, suggesting customers were throwing more Halloween parties.
A spokeswoman said: "Halloween is a multi-million pound event for us."
Major products included Wanda Witch, Shaking Shackled Prisoner Pete, a hanging ghoul figure, Ear Flapping Rocking Dog and a gothic witch costume, as well as bakery and confectionery lines.