Halloween & Party Expo showcases product launches, new ideas and celebration

The recent Halloween & Party Expo showcased the latest trends and new product launches from more than 350 exhibitors, representing 152,000 square feet at the Ernest N. Morial Convention in New Orleans.

A comprehensive product offering covered every major Halloween and party product, including accessories, costumes, licensed products, makeup, candy and props and décor. Retailers were in attendance from across the United States and from 18 other countries, including Australia, UK, Mexico, Panama and Colombia.

“This year was the debut of the event under our new partnership with the Halloween Industry Association (HIA),” said Mike Carlucci, Vice President of Sales and Specialty Shows, Urban Expositions. “We’ve received tremendous feedback from our customers on the quality of the buyers and the overall event experience. We look forward to building upon the success of this year for the 2017 event.”

Over the four-day event held Jan. 22-25, attendees were treated to a new event experience, which included a haunted house with live zombies, ghoulish holograms, and hand-carved New Orleans tombs by local haunted décor designer K Studios.

“HIA member exhibitors had a great experience with establishing new accounts, notably international buyers,” said Michele Biordi, Executive Director, HIA. “This is just the beginning of a long-lasting successful partnership with Urban Expositions. Together we will work to enhance the show experience for exhibitors and buyers alike.”

Highlights throughout the week included:

The Brewing Boos & Booze industry networking and costume party held Friday night at Generations Hall provided customers a chance to gather together for a night of music, dancing and celebration. Dat Band, a local New Orleans favorite, headlined the event. Sponsors of the party included: Party & Paper Retailer, Fun World, Disguise, Rubies, California Costumes, Halloween Industry Association, Airgas, Atmos FX, Charades, Costume Culture, Costumes USA, Dreamgirl, Ellie Shoes, Elope, Forum Novelties, Fun Express, Funny Fashion, Goddessey, InCharacter, Leg Avenue, Party Club of America, Paper First Affiliates, Princess Paradise, and Regent Products Corp.

Independent Retailer Conference featured two days of education dedicated entirely to the unique lifestyle and responsibilities of indie storeowners. The focus was on delivering in-store and e-commerce operational insight and expertise that can help independent merchants further succeed in their retail goals. Industry experts included Consumer Anthropologist and International Retail Experts Kizer & Bender, Constant Contact, RETAILMavens, Refund Retriever, Square, and Strategic Funding Source.

New Product Showcase and Best New Product Awards featured new and exciting products, from costumes to party products, masks, and more. Retailers viewed entries and voted for the best new product featured at the show as part of the Halloween Buyers' Choice Awards. New this year, everyone who voted by ballot was automatically entered to win a $500 show-floor shopping spree. The 2016 Halloween Buyers' Choice Award Winners were: California Costume Collections, EZ-Jello Shot Products, and Armand Prosper, LLC/The Skeleton in the Closet. The $500 show-floor shopping spree winner was Rick Negrette of Goodwill OC.

Hear what the industry is saying about the 2016 show:

  • “Halloween & Party Expo was a great experience for us this year. We were able to show our designs, and retailers were able to feel the quality of our wigs. As a result, we’ve opened up many new opportunities from the event.” — Anna Arispe, RockStar Wigs
  • “We’re having a great event — our business at the show has doubled this year. We are seeing many new buyers this year at the show who are looking for great price-points in both Halloween and general merchandise.” — New HIA Member, Ken Soens from Regent Products
  • “The show itself was really well run and looked great. New Orleans is an amazing place and we’re both looking forward to hopefully visiting again in the future.” — Will Johnson of Last Night of Freedom
  • “The show was a tremendous success for Sourcing Edge and our Goodwill Customers. We not only placed orders with current suppliers, but we opened accounts with new suppliers as well.” — Jim Perrone of Sourcing Edge
  • “Halloween & Party Expo is a great way to expand my business and find new trends to bring to my customers in Colombia. I’ve been making a lot of connections through the show, and the overall experience has been fun.” — Andrea De La Esperilla of Otavi S.A.S

The Halloween & Party Expo is already slated return to the Morial Convention Center each of the next two years. Dates are Jan. 14-17, 2017, and Jan. 12-15, 2018.

Originally posted Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016