With trick-or-treaters advised to stay off storm-wrecked streets this Halloween, candy and other merchandise associated with the holiday has lingered in stores.
Sales of Halloween candy, costumes, and decorations were projected to hit $8 million in the U.S. this year, according to the National Retail Federation, but with many customers reeling from Hurricane Sandy, and many stores still without power, that figure could look very different.
Shelves stocked with bags of "fun-size" Halloween candy remained full as retailers took stock of the loss and hoped that delayed festivities in November might make up the difference.
Nanci Lewis, owner of Sweet Rexie's in Fairfield, only got power back at her store on Wednesday morning, after closing the shop on Sunday night ahead of the storm. She still has plenty of Halloween-themed supplies, like gummy spiders, ghost-shaped peeps, spiderweb cotton candy and pumpkin-flavored truffles, as well as the types of packaged candy usually tossed into trick-or-treaters' bags.
"It's drastically affected me because my biggest days are the ones before Halloween," Lewis said. "We did sell stuff on the weekend, but I'm not sure what we'll do with" the leftovers.
At one Walgreens in Stamford, shelves are not nearly as empty as they would be on a normal Halloween, according to a store manager. The candy and costumes will be kept through the weekend and sold at a discount.
Branches of the Grade A Shoprite in Stamford also felt the effects of subdued Halloween sales, although the stores, many of which were still closed Wednesday, were dealing other-storm related problems. Still, one Stamford location manager noted that candy sales had been normal up until Saturday, when residents began preparing for the storm.
The U.S. Census Bureau had previously estimated that about 41 million children between ages 5 and 14 would be out on the streets trick-or-treating this year; but for those living in Hurricane Sandy's wake, the numbers will likely be much smaller than usual.
Officials in several local towns are encouraging parents and children to curtail or forgo door-to-door expeditions, for safety reasons following the storm amid blackouts, downed power lines and fallen trees.
Some towns, including Fairfield, are postponing Halloween events until next week or a later date, though Lewis is not sure how much this will help her sales at Sweet Rexie's. She usually sells candy for school events and private party favors, but is assuming those will not bounce back.
"I don't think those are going to happen," Lewis said. "People are cleaning up and have other priorities."
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