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Record Halloween Spending Expected to Create Economic Treats for Planners

3 Oct, 2018

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Halloween. On a Wednesday. Well, depending on the way you look at it, that’s either a grave problem (see what we did there?) or it’s an opportunity for sports event owners to celebrate the occasion twice and to leave no (head) stone unturned in their search for a revenue stream.

Already one of the biggest commercial holidays, Halloween keeps growing year over year. This time around, the National Retail Federation (they of the best Halloween statistics each year) has forecast a $9 billion economic impact for Halloween 2018. And half of all adult celebrants intend to dress in a costume.

What does that mean? Adults want to have fun too. And if a sports event can tie into the theme and give them a reason to show up in their spooky best, they’ll turn out in force. And that means increase economic impact for sports planners.

Already, plenty of events are out there, proving this point. Running in the USA, which tracks various foot races throughout the U.S., has recorded an inordinate number of races (upwards of 800, at last check) on Saturday, October 27. Most 5Ks include key words such as Halloween, Haunted, Pumpkin, Zombie, Ghost and similar terms. And while the following Saturday (November 3) does have some themed races, the calendar isn’t overflowing with them as it is the previous week.

Plenty of other sports also capitalize on the Halloween trend. Racquetball hosts the Ghostly Classic in Herndon, Virginia the weekend prior to the big day – always a favorite, since it includes a costume contest. Pickleball has its Gruesome Twosome Tournament and the Drakubbla Kubb Tournament in the City of Anoka, Minnesota.

Sports complexes have also been setting a calendar of events for the occasion. In Illinois, the Libertyville Sports Complex hosts its Halloween Fest on Tuesday, October 30, with inflatables, a spooky climbing mountain, train ride and various activities. Peoria (Arizona) Sports Complex, meanwhile, hosts its Monster Bash on Saturday, October 27, with a similar agenda.

And look for the Walking Dead to continue its contributions to the economic and sports landscape. Obstacle races, such as the Zombie Mud Run, Zombie Fun Run and Mud Dog Run – Zombie Edition, will also see plenty of participation, with races designed for both children and adults.

And speaking of mud dogs, here’s another insight from the NRF. Pet costumes continue to gain popularity, with nearly 20 percent of celebrants planning to dress their pets in costumes this year up from last year’s 16 percent.

“One of the biggest trends this year is the growth of spending on pet costumes,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Out of the 31.3 million Americans planning to dress their pets in costumes, millennials (25-34) are most likely to dress up their pets, the highest we have seen in the history of our surveys.”

So if you’re holding a Halloween 5K – or any other sports event with a Halloween theme – and you can find a costume category for Fluffy, you’re likely to increase your economic impact.

The NFL has a full schedule for the weekend and week preceding Halloween – and fans make the most of their ability to celebrate both football and season, something photographers love, judging from this photo gallery.

Of course, not every seasonal event sees the need for a festive tie-in. The Hunter’s Green Halloween Cup, Level 7, is a Tampa, Florida-based tennis tournament for juniors, and despite the fact that it’s recruiting children to play and uses that enticing “H” word, its information includes this line: “Proper tennis attire, please.”

To quote a ghost: boo.

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