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January 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 1
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Top-10 Most-Wanted Halloween Products


With additional reporting from Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero

What's the key to raking in Halloween sales? When TDmonthly Magazine interviewed 12 retailers about their best selling Halloween items, they told us that carrying high-quality costumes year round was the best way to turn a profit.

Deborah Smith of Toys That Teach in Richmond, Va., told TDmonthly that, “We kind of stay away from huge seasonal stuff, mostly because I don't want to store them or wholesale them." However, the year-round costume selection they do have, "Is going to hold up for 3 or 4 kids, not just one Halloween." By carrying high-quality costumes year round, discerning customers know where to go when Halloween rolls around.

For those that did carry costumes, Creative Education was by far the most popular brand, with 7 of the 12 retailers naming their costumes Halloween best sellers. 

Some stores, however, seem to have no luck when it comes to getting a piece of the Halloween market. “We've tried Halloween. For some reason, we can't compete,” with the party stores that rent vacant buildings for the Halloween season, William Meredith, owner of Learning Express in Cary, N.C., told TDmonthly. "We have the perfect customer base, but it never works," he lamented.

Some stores have steered away from selling the usual costume items in an attempt to grab more sales. Maryalice Miner, co-owner of Miner's Doll & Toy Store in Ocean Springs, Miss., brings in items like plush Black Cats from Gund, and other items that can be used as Halloween party favors. Lynda Blankenship from Smart Toys & Books in Knoxville, Tenn., sells non-costume items as well, telling TDmonthly that, "Any Halloween books with established characters, like Clifford," tend to do well.

You can see all of the Top-10 Most-Wanted Halloween Products below.

No manufacturer paid to be included in this article. All products listed were designated by editorial staff without regard to the company's relationship with TOYDIRECTORY.com/TDmonthly Magazine.




MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 4 to 6
Gender: Girls
Category: Costumes & Accessories
Pretend Play
Apparel



This size-flexible dress is made of heavy satin and embroidered brocade. Encourages creative play. Fully machine washable.
— In a December 2011 survey about best selling Halloween items, seven out of 12 retailers named Creative Education as their best selling brand of costumes.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31880      (added 3/8/2011)
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MSRP: $39.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Costumes & Accessories



This construction worker kit comes with a realistic vest in high-visibility neon orange trimmed with reflective tape, a bright yellow hard hat, work gloves, goggles, a tool belt, a toy hammer and saw, a measuring tape, and a name tag for personalizing. The vest is machine washable, and the measuring tape really works.
— “The Melissa & Doug Construction Worker set sells very well,” said John MacDougall, owner of Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., in early 2009.
— In a December 2011 survey about best selling Halloween items, seven out of 12 retailers named Creative Education as their best selling brand of costumes.
— “Since the introduction of costumes by Melissa & Doug, they have been selling well,” said Joe Berardoni, owner of Pun's Toy Shop in Bryn Mawr, Pa.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22739      (added 3/10/2009)
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MSRP: $44.95
Age Range: 2 to 14
Specialty: Yes (as of 2011)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Apparel
Halloween Merchandise
Costumes & Accessories



This Jr. Flight Suit has been completely redone from the original flight suit designed 9 years ago by Aeromax.  This new suit of “poly/cotton twill” is beautifully crafted to last & last.  This suit is authentic in everyway, with official looking NASA patches and embroidered cap.  It’s loaded with zippered pockets to store all the “moon rocks”, has an adjustable waist and an embroidered NASA cap.  Sizes: 2/3, 4/6, 6/8, 8/10, 12/14 * Adult Small and Adult Large ($79.95 for adult sizes).
— Aeromax's Get Real Gear line of dress-up clothes is a Halloween best seller for Maryalice Miner, co-owner of Miner's Doll & Toy Store in Ocean Springs, Miss..
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25354      (added 9/15/2009)
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MSRP: $31.99
Age Range: 3 to 7
Specialty: Yes (as of 2011)
SKU or Item #: 55693
Launch Date: February 2009
Gender: Boys
Category: Pretend Play
Costumes & Accessories
Developmental Toys



This product was a 2009 ASTRA Best Toys for Kids Winner — the only costume to win this award in 2009 in the Pretend/Fantasy Play category. The green Dragon side is made with shimmering scales and a yellow dragon tail. The silver Knight side emulates a glittering armor and is embellished with a red and black emblem. The Reversible Dragon/Knight Hood (sold separately) completes the look of this fiery dragon and a feisty knight. "This is a truly unique and high-quality design and it's sold for the specialty market only," Veesha Knight, sales and marketing manager for Creative Education of Canada, Inc., told TDmonthly. Launch date: February 2009.
Awards: 2010 Children's Choice Award by the Canadian Toy Testing Council.
— Donna Frederick, owner of The Play House Toy Store in Durham, N.C., told TDmonthly in a December 2011 survey that "We ran out of capes this year," and that she will definitely order capes from the Great Pretenders line by Creative Education again for Halloween next year.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25854      (added 10/29/2009)
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MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 3 to 8
Specialty: Yes (as of 2011)
Made in: China
SKU or Item #: 11201
Gender: Girls
Category: Pretend Play
Costumes & Accessories
Apparel



This classic style has a beautiful layered pink skirt. The pink velvet bodice, decorated with silver sequin and accented with a blossomed pink flower, will make any princess feel majestic. "We use only soft, durable clothing-quality fabrics, which makes all of our dress ups comfortable. The seams and hems are completely finished and there are no itchy underskirts or fabrics, adding to the comfort," Andrea Farrell from Little Adventures told TDmonthly. Launch date: February 2011.
— Kim Emigh, vice president of e—commerce at Growing Tree Toys in State College, Pa., told TDmonthly in a December 2011 survey that she sells a few brands of costumes, but that Little Adventures tends to do the best because of their relatively lower price point.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32653      (added 8/5/2011)
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MSRP: $24.95
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Creative Activities
Halloween Merchandise



This new edition of Face Painting was completely refreshed, revised, and revitalized for a new generation. Klutz added more detailed directions for simple sponge and brush techniques and created tear-out cheat sheets to make painting birthday parties easier than ever. But the biggest change is the Wolfe Brothers face paints. They go on smoothly, dry quickly, last longer, and wash off easily, with bold, bright colors. The book comes with a six-color palette of face paints, a brush, a sponge, and 12 tear-out take-along design cards.
— Her Halloween 2010 crowd liked the Klutz face painting book, reported Gwen Bowden, manager of Doodlehopper for Kids in Springfield, Va.
— In a December 2011 survey about best selling Halloween products, 3 retailers said face painting kits were among their best sellers.
— Syd Clarke, owner of Ali-Cat in Carrboro, N.C., told TDmonthly in a December 2014 interview that Face Paint from Klutz is one of their best-selling Halloween toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31366      (added 12/22/2010)
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MSRP: $3.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books
Halloween Merchandise
Preschool



Out of all the holidays, Emily Elizabeth and Clifford like Halloween the most. They play games, trick-or-treat in the neighborhood, and tell ghost stories. Best of all, they can wear costumes. Clown, witch, knight, or ghost—what will Clifford decide to dress up as this year?
— Lynda Blankenship from Smart Toys & Books in Knoxville, Tenn., told TDmonthly in a December 2011 survey about Halloween that, "any Halloween books with established characters, like Clifford or Fancy Nancy," tend to do well.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33269      (added 12/7/2011)
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This plush black cat makes "funny Halloween" cat sounds when you press the orange pumpkin on it's tail.
— Maryalice Miner, co-owner of Miner's Doll & Toy Store in Ocean Springs, Miss., told TDmonthly in a December 2011 survey that they sell items like the Gund Black Cat during the Halloween season. This way, they have a seasonally relevant product, but aren't in direct competition with the nearby Halloween store.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31369      (added 12/22/2010)
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MSRP: $27.99
Age Range: 3 to 6
SKU or Item #: LER9055
Launch Date: February 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Pretend Play
Educational
Interactive



Little anglers can hook the catch of the day, and an adjustable vest makes play more realistic. Kids can play a size-matching game with worms and fish. It features six pages of write-and-wipe, fishing-themed activities. Plastic pieces include a pole with magnetic hook, three magnetic fish, three worms, a net and a vest (plastic, nylon and canvas). All magnets are embedded for safety, and the plastic tackle box stores all pieces. "This fishing set is a realistic representation of fishing, allowing imaginative play, while also being able to play matching games with the various size worms and colored fish that come with the set," Nancy Davies, group account director at Salmon Borre Group, told TDmonthly. Launch date: February 15, 2009.
— Deborah Smith from Toys That Teach in Richmond, Va., told TDmonthly in a December 2011 survey that Learning Resources Pretend & Play kits were among her best selling Halloween products.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24298      (added 6/29/2009)
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The flexible wire inside this 6.75" black mustaches allows it to be shaped in various styles, including the friendly barber, the stern general and the dapper dandy. It comes with a rubber piece that clips to the nose.
— Two of 38 specialty retailers mentioned mustaches as a best-selling novelty item in fall 2008. Michelle Bears, owner of The Toy Store in Highlands, N.C., told TDmonthly her store sells about 48 Accoutrements fake mustaches per month.
— Donna Frederick, owner of The Play House Toy Store in Durham, N.C., told TDmonthly in a December 2011 survey about Halloween that, "Accoutrements sells a set of novelty mustaches that is very popular."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25899      (added 10/30/2009)
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Justina HuddlestonWriter's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author

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