Sandy takes toll on Halloween parties, could disrupt candy sales
The economic damage wrought by Sandy’s rampage through the East Coast now might encompass candy sales, costume purchases and holiday event planners as the storm shuts down Halloween celebrations along its path.
For the first time in 39 years, the popular Village Halloween Parade in New York City was canceled by authorities. The event usually brings hundreds of thousands of tourists and some $90 million in visitor dollars annually into the city and is often considered by Greenwich Village businesses to be their best night of the year.
The Park Slope Civic Council’s Halloween Parade was also nixed as police, sanitation workers and other city employees were redirected to aid recovery efforts.
“Even though the streets in the neighborhood are walkable, we felt this was not a priority given needs elsewhere in the City,” said Civic Council President Michael Cairl in a statement.
Model Heidi Klum called off her much-hyped and celebrity-studded annual bash.
“Hope you & your loved ones are safe after the storm,” she wrote on Twitter. “Canceling my Halloween party ... postponing to a haunted Christmas.”
Along much of the Eastern Seaboard, downed trees blocked off streets as fallen power lines sparked on the ground. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey tweeted that if trick-or-treating conditions weren’t safe Wednesday, he would “sign an Executive Order rescheduling #Halloween.”
Before the super storm, analysts had projected this Halloween to be a record-breaker, with some 170 million Americans celebrating, spending $8 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.
The National Confectioners Assn. predicted that consumers would shell out $2.4 billion on candy – more than any other year in the last decade, and with much of the customer traffic coming at the last minute.
Of the more than 2,000 fright fest attractions nationwide, as estimated by the Haunted House Assn., many of the most novel ones originate in New York. The average event brings in 8,000 paying guests, with the overall industry generating $400 million to $500 million in ticket sales. Haunted houses spend some $85 million a year on advertising.
The pumpkin market is highly seasonal, with New York and Pennsylvania among the top states for production. The market for the squash was valued at $113 million last year, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.
But Sandy might take a hefty bite out of all those projections if wary partiers stay at home, take down their decorations and keep their children off the slippery streets.