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2019 Halloween & Party Expo a global showcase for new products and trends

The Halloween & Party Expo, North America’s only event for the Halloween, Haunt, Party and Celebration industries, wrapped up its 2019 edition last week, bringing together more than 3,500 industry professionals for the largest opportunity of the year source new products and see new trends. The event took place January 25-27 in New Orleans, and was once again co-located with HAuNTcon, The Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Convention, bringing the retail and attractions industries together under one roof. Preliminary feedback from buyers and exhibitors following the event indicates expanded buying activity across the show facilitated by an increase in face-to-face meetings on the show floor.
 
What’s New and What’s Next 
As the only show exclusively dedicated to the market and the first for 2019, the Halloween & Party Expo has long been the launching pad for new products and the place for retailers to source best sellers for the coming season. This year’s event featured more than 300 companies including 40 new to the show as well as an expanded product category selection based on industry feedback – from costumes and accessories to party and paper goods, makeup, novelties, toys and gifts, and business services. To showcase new launches, interviews with the designers and brands and product previews took place throughout the weekend on the Haunted Trends Main Stage and were streamed through social media.
 
“It was important for us to showcase the products that retailers told us were most important for them to find on the 2019 show floor,” commented Halloween & Party Expo senior vice president Mike Carlucci. “We expanded the product categories to provide enhanced opportunities for retailers to diversify their product mix and boost sales and we thank all of our exhibiting companies for using the Halloween & Party Expo as their opportunity to debut their new product launches for the coming season.”
 
Special events highlighted trends and new products. The all NEW Friday Night Fashion show provided an exciting opportunity for the industry to see looks from more than 40 companies, as exhibitors including Starline, Pet Krewe, Faux Real, High Noon Creations, Unique Vintage, elope, Scared of My Shadow, Rubie’s, Studio Oz, Disguise, Dreamgirl, Aeromax, Fun World, Mehron, Rock Star Wigs, Zagone Studios, and more modeled their own products to debut everything from costumes to accessories and makeup. In addition, the second annual Artist Battleground brought makeup front and center when makeup artists representing Woochie by Cinema Secrets, Moon Creations and Alcone Company transformed their models to the theme of Urban Legends. For the second year, Jeff West of Woochie by Cinema Secrets was crowned the Artist Battleground Master.
 
Commented Jon Stein of Woochie by Cinema Secrets, "In both my opinion, as well as the opinion of many vendors I spoke to, this year was a big success and it was clear there was a focus to help exhibitors maximize their ability to see increased ROI on the show. From appointment setting, to new and improved buyers on the show floor, to increased exposure opportunities for brand awareness and overall excellent customer service I was extremely pleased with the overall experience of Halloween & Party Expo this year and am extremely excited to return in 2020."
 
The newly formatted New Product Showcase allowed attendees to place their vote for best new product of the show across both Halloween & Party Expo and HAuNTcon. The Buyers Choice Awards were presented to Pumpkin Pulp (first place), Rubie’s Pet Shop (second place) and Sweet Midnight (third place) as the products that buyers decided will be most in demand from customers for the 2019 season.
 
Driving Connections
To facilitate order writing and drive ROI for both attendees and exhibitors, the Buyers Club, a program developed for the 2018 event and supported by the Halloween & Costume Association and the show, grew for the 2019 to drive 3,000 appointments on the show floor between retailers and exhibitors – a 42% increase over the 2018 event. The program provides concierge assistance to buyers – helping them to find products and connect with new suppliers as well as pre-schedule meetings with exhibiting companies. In addition to the Buyers Club Program, the 2019 Halloween & Party Expo also saw the launch of MATCH! a customized guaranteed meetings opportunity for buyers and exhibitors designed to arrange meetings of mutual interest.
 
Commented Buyers Club member, Linda Bredemann, from A Walk Through Time and Vintage Costumes, “I like the concept of scheduled appointments. I added about five vendors that I hadn't planned on meeting with but they were great finds!”
 
Continued Carlucci, “We know that making new connections drives business for both attendees and exhibitors and we are happy to provide a forum and concierge programs to assist in furthering the connections of our customers. We look forward to continued growth for 2020.”
 
Celebrating and Moving the Industry Forward
As the annual industry gathering, an enhanced focus was put on networking and idea sharing to address the changes and trends in online retail, technology and more - bringing the community forward for the 2019 season. Roundtable discussions and industry keynote panels were formed based on retailer feedback and discussed best practices in online sales, merchandising, staffing, technology and more. Moderated by Nicole Leinbach Reyhle of Retail Minded, the panels and roundtable discussions included industry experts from Greenspoint Company, Yelp, Nikki’s French Quarter Halloween Store, Kizer & Bender, and more.
 
The co-location with HAuNTcon created the most comprehensive resource for professionals in the Halloween, Haunt or Celebration industry, bringing together retailers and attractions industry professionals to collaborate on new ideas and focus on the hottest consumer trends for the 2019 season. Off the show floor, the group came together for the largest Brewing, Boos and Booze industry party to date. More than 1,200 attendees and exhibitors gathered at Generations Hall for a night of networking, entertainment and celebration of the industry.
 
Michele Biordi, executive director of the Halloween & Costume Association remarked, “We are thrilled at the success of this year’s Halloween & Party Expo and were impressed by the scope of new products and innovation we saw from exhibiting companies. We look forward to a successful season and to continue to be a resource for the industry throughout the year.”
 
Halloween & Party Expo and HAuNTcon return to New Orleans in 2020 – January 17-19 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. More information can be found at www.halloweenpartyexpo.com. 

Originally posted Monday, Feb. 18, 2019