Minions, Miley Cyrus to dominate Halloween costume spending

Minions and Miley. Expect to see a lot of them on Halloween, based on what people are searching for online.

Experian Marketing Services, which helps companies maximize their marketing efforts, sampled 10 million Internet users nationwide to find out what they were pairing with the term "costume'' on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. M and M came in big, as did Minnie Mouse, zombies and "stick figure,'' which refers not necessarily to a costume but to a YouTube video that went viral last week of a kid in a lit-up stick figure costume.

The results don't really surprise. Both kids and adults fell in love again with the cute, goggled minions when Despicable Me 2 came out in July. And who didn't have something to say about twerking former Disney star Miley Cyrus?

The National Retail Federation expects that people will spend $2.6 billion on Halloween costumes this year, more than on any other item, including candy and decorations. And don't forget the four-legged friends. About $330 million of the total costume spending will go toward turning Fido into a devil and Morris into a pumpkin.

Overall, spending for the holiday is expected to reach $6.9 billion this year, according to the Halloween Consumer Spending Survey done for the national retail group by Prospect Insights & Analytics. That's a nearly 55 percent increase since 2005, when, by most accounts, Halloween was pretty big, too.

Particularly of note is where people find inspiration for their costumes. Gone are the days when everyone would cram into Party City or a popup Halloween store. According to the survey, just as many shoppers (33 percent) get ideas online as they do from stores. About 20 percent ask friends or family for ideas, 14 percent check Facebook and a few read blogs.

Bill Tancer, general manager of global research for Experian, said the company starts looking at Halloween trends in late August to help its retail clients know what to stock and promote. Some things never go out of style (pirates and princesses), but plenty of things do. Maybe Cyrus' twerking teddy outfit will be just a memory next year.

World of Beer opened its 50th location on Monday, at 6878 Providence Lakes Blvd. in Brandon. That's as many bars as the new location has beer taps.

The Tampa-based tavern started in 2007 as a neighborhood bar in Westchase and has expanded to 16 states. Fourteen locations have opened in the past year, with others to follow in Seattle, Syracuse, N.Y., and Santan, Ariz.

The Brandon location has 500 kinds of bottled beer, craft spirits, and food that complements the drinks, from German pretzels and brat sliders to salads and sandwiches. It opens daily at 11 a.m.

Speaking of a local chain on a growth spurt, Bonefish Grill is opening nine locations nationwide in the next three months, including the restaurant's first two in California, making it coast to coast.

Bonefish is part of Bloomin' Brands, a Tampa-based company that also owns Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Roy's. Bonefish has 190 restaurants in 32 states. In addition to California, the other new locations are in Virginia, Colorado, Michigan, Massachusetts, North Carolina and New Jersey.

Susan Thurston can be reached at sthurston@tampabay.com or (813) 225-3110. Follow @susan_thurston on Twitter.

Minions, Miley Cyrus to dominate Halloween costume spending 10/29/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 6:02pm]

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