Mankato Halloween Supplier Saw Record Revenue in 2020
In a year where in-person social interaction was discouraged and holidays were celebrated over Zoom, many people turned to imagination and the art of make-believe. And though nearly all group gatherings were canceled in 2020, one party necessity boomed in the midst of Covid-19: costumes.
Fun.com CMO Mark Bietz attributed the sales boost to the aftermath of months of social distancing and stay-at-home orders. He said people craved a sense of normalcy and the ability to take a mental break.
“I think that’s why a lot of families doubled-down on Halloween,” Bietz said. “Whether or not they were actually going trick-or-treating, parents were determined to make sure their kids had a good time.”
Kids costume sales especially soared, while adult costumes remained about flat year-over-year. Costumes typically purchased for adult Halloween parties showed a noticeable sales decline, and at the very beginning of the pandemic, total business was cut in half, according to Bietz.
But, fortunately, that loss lasted for only about a month, thanks to major growth in HalloweenCostumes.com’s sister website, Fun.com.
The Fun.com brand carries toys, games, home decor, and apparel, including Disney, Harry Potter, and Star Wars gifts and collectibles.
“Costumes are a really social product—and there were sales throughout last summer—but Fun.com’s growth really sustained us,” Bietz said. “What we saw is a lot of people ended up buying stuff for their house, things that they could use to have fun and entertain themselves at home.”
Beginning in September, costume sales skyrocketed, and the company was well on its way to its best year to date.
What was 2020’s top costume? Unsurpisingly: a Plague Doctor. Additional popular costumes included Care Bears, Sharkboy and Lavagirl, Spider-Man, and Transformers Bumblebee.
Leaders at HalloweenCostumes.com say the website remains the largest online-only costume retailer in the world. The site currently counts more than 10,000 costumes, including 3,500 exclusive pieces.
The family business began in Mankato in 1992, when Julie and Lisa Fallenstein started renting out Halloween costumes their mother, Jenice, had made for them growing up. That start-up quickly grew from their small garage to a rental shop called Costumes Galore.
In 2001, president and CEO Tom Fallenstein took the business online, operating through more than 100 domain names. By 2011, the business honed in on the HalloweenCostumes.com brand used today.
The vast majority of sales are conducted through the Fun.com and HalloweenCostumes.com websites, but some costumes are available on Amazon. Most of the company’s sales take place in September and October.
During off-season, HalloweenCostumes.com focuses on other dress-up, themed events, such as New Year’s Eve, Purim, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and child imaginary play.
This year, Easter-related costumes and accessories are particularly sought after. In fact, the Adult White Bunny costume is nearly sold out, and Easter is still over a week away.
HalloweenCostumes.com’s Easter category reached a record high in 2020, and 2021 has already outperformed that peak. Bietz again credits that to the desire for a sense of normalcy and family holiday entertainment.
“Especially considering there’s less Easter Bunny meet-and-greets at malls, parents are really just taking it into their own hands to make sure their families can still have the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunt experience,” Bietz said.