Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Business of Halloween.

As a kid, I always looked very much forward to Halloween. Halloween was a fun tradition that invokes a very sentimental feeling- walking in the dark with flashlights (with my parents and friends) and getting ridiculous amounts of candy is a memory I cherish to this day. Taking it from a different perspective now, I've learned that halloween is becoming a big business- much bigger than I imagined.

Contrary to urban legend that states that Halloween is the second biggest decorating holiday of the year, passed only by Christmas, it's NOT. It's actually number Six.

Winter Holidays: 457 Billion

Mother's Day: 13.8 Billion

Valentines Day: 13.7 Billion

Easter:12.63 Billion

Father's Day: 9.01 Billion

and finally...

Halloween: The National Retail Federation predicts Halloween Spending (at retail - not counting Haunted Houses and Corn Mazes and Pumpkin Patches) will reach nearly $6 Billion dollars this year.

It could be that the reason for this placement is because all the holidays above Halloween have to do with gifting and restaurant visits.

Two things most people buy at Halloween: Candy and Pumpkins followed by Costumes.

In 2006, 85.3% of 18-24 year olds planned to celebrate Halloween.

In 2007, men between 18-34 were planning to spend the most per person on Halloween - $72 per person.

The Haunted House business is also growing - with between 3,000 and 5,000 Haunted Houses this year -up from 500 just a decade ago.

Corn Maze popularity is growing - in 1998 there were between 50 and 100 corn mazes in the United States. In 2008 there are an estimated 800, but an exact number is difficult because many mazes are privately designed.

The Most Popular Halloween Costumes:

Boys: Spiderman (Pirate is second)

Girls: Princess (including Disney Princesses)

Halloween Candy Sales will be at a record in 2010 - When sales will reach nearly 2.1 Billion dollars !

Here's an interesting list of the favorite (most popular) candies throughout the years (source:

1896: Tootsie Roll

1898: Candy Corn

1900: Hershey's Chocolate Bar

1923: Milky Way

1928: Reese's Peanut Butter Cup

1930: Snickers Bar

1941: M&M's

1981: Skittles

1992: Dove Chocolate

2010: Surprise !! It's Tootsie Rolls again ! (followed by Hershey's Chocolate and Nestle's Crunch)

All this talking about candy is making me hungry !

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Casual Fridays as a Business Tool

I can't help but think about how many times I've heard working people say "Thank God it's Friday" !

It seems that people who work (Blue Collar / White Coller or any Color Collar) always look forward to Friday, and the difference between a Monday Morning in an office and a Friday Morning in an office is dramatically different. Mondays you'll see people somewhat on the edge -- looking to kickoff and "get ahead" on their work week.

The difference is evidenced by various little observations on indirect behaviors.

Here's a completely unscientific view of Monday Vs Friday at the Office.




Parking Lot

Full Early

Not Full

Coffee Machine

Busy Early

Not so overused


Work at Desk

Desks Empty

Conference Rooms

Jam Packed



Long Wait Time

Waiting for you

Coat Closets


Extra hangers


Good weekend?

Any plans for the weekend?




Large companies have noticed that people very much look forward to their Fridays - it's an unavoidable fact.

Companies also surely saw a dramatic dip in workplace attendance on Fridays when people would take a vacation day to start their weekends early.

While shirts, ties, and dress shoes are the norm in a formal business environment from Monday through Thursday, many companies allow a behavior we are familiar to be known as “business-casual” wear on Friday.

Companies, in order to assuage people's desires to "just completely bug out" on Fridays and not show up at all, decided to allow employees to "be themselves" and work in a slightly more relaxed environment. While some people feel business casual attire may cause an overly relaxed environment, companies have a strong logic behind this idea. Friday night has traditionally marked the beginning of a weekend- representing relaxation, peace, and an environment in which work is not the prominent focus.

Throughout my experiences of school, and my limited but studied understanding of offices, Casual Friday gives employees a small incentive to show up at work, allows employees to have a greater comfort level, and also mends the disconnect between formal attire and a lenient environment.

Whether Casual Fridays were intended to reward employees for their hard work throughout the week, or to reduce the level of absenteeism on Fridays is debatable. In either case however, I believe it's a win-win for both the employees and companies, since employees who are allowed to dress down on Fridays usually end up with less stress, and are more likely to get to work. Also remember, "dress down Fridays" also applies to colleagues who run the HR department and the corner office, so I don't believe anyone is really complaining!