Nation to snap up costumes and party gear
Gary Broadrick, president of the US National Costumers Association, predicts that this year's Halloween goods sales will be up 5.4 per cent.

The National Retail Federation also predicts that Americans will spend a record US$3 billion-plus (£1.64 billion) on spooky paraphernalia.

'In 1997, Halloween was a US$2 billion [£1.09 billion] industry,' Broadrick told The Cincinnati Post. 'In 2003, it was a US$7 billion [£3.82 billion] industry.'

For retailers, Halloween is now a key sales driver between the back-to-school period and Christmas. Specialist stores, discounted goods shops, grocers and even hardware stores are among the key beneficiaries.

'The spike in revenue is coming from adults,' said Broadrick. 'It is the nation's third-largest party holiday, second only to the Super Bowl and New Year's Eve. It is a nationwide Mardi Gras.'