Party Line: Happy New Year

It's time to turn the page on 2011 and dive into 2012, a year that is sure to bring with it new challenges, new opportunities and new connections.

It's also sure to bring with it more Halloween, as even though we're still recovering from 2011, the Halloween & Party Expo in Houston at the end of this month reminds us that it's never too early to start looking ahead.
Halloween 2012 looks to be bigger and better than 2011, as according to the National Retail Federation's (NRF) 2011 Top Costumes survey, Americans were expected to spend $2.5 billion on Halloween costumes in 2011, with more than $1 billion spent on children's costumes, $1.2 billion on adult costumes and $310 million on pet costumes.

While witches, princesses and superheroes continue to top the lists each year, the innovations and special effects that manufacturers launch is what sets them apart. A costume is no longer just a costume, but rather an outfit with lights and literal bells and whistles at times. I'm not sure what's on the horizon - scratch and sniff, perhaps? - but you can bet that they're already thinking up the next hot innovation and design.

But this issue is about much more than just costumes. We also take a look at the general Halloween trends for 2012, as well as those for bridal, balloons and every day party.

We also asked what you were resolving to do for your store in 2012, so be sure to read the Store Room on p. X. If you haven't made any resolutions yet yourself, remember that it's never too late to be what you might have been - or what you want to be.

So whether it's a witch with bells and whistles or a successful retailer with a 3 percent increase in overall sales, use 2012 to resolve to evolve. And if you're in Houston for the show at the end of this month and see me walking the floor, be sure to say "hi" and introduce yourself.


Originally posted Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011