Case Study of the Week: Using Research in Halloween Merchandising

October 24, 2022

Buying & Merchandising

You are to assume the role of the director of merchandising and operations for Fright Night Costumes, a chain of pop-up retail stores that specializes in Halloween costumes and decorations. The senior vice president wants you to analyze new research information and decide how the stores should change current inventory.

There are currently over 1,000 Fright Night Costumes stores that operate from September 1st to October 31st each year. Fright Night Costumes pop-up in vacant retail properties and hire teams of temporary workers. Each Fright Night Costumes store’s inventory consists of 75% costumes and 25% decorations and props.

After studying past years’ sales, your team adjusted the costume inventory two years ago. Fright Night Costumes costume inventory is as follows:

  • 50% baby/child/youth costumes
  • 20% women’s costumes
  • 10% men’s costumes
  • 15% unisex costumes
  • 5% plus-size costumes

This year Pinterest released insights into Halloween-related costume searches and compared them to prior years. The research showed that searches for plus size costumes increased by 90% compared to last year and searches for wheelchair and adaptive costumes increased 26% over last year. Incredibly, searches for costumes related to the television show Obscurity increased over 500%. The hit television show recently aired its final episode which drew many viewers, which Pinterest believes caused the spike in costume interest.

Costumes that are not sold during the two-month sales period are kept and used for inventory again the following year, along with new arrivals. This system has allowed Fright Night to keep supplier costs low. Inventory that demonstrates three years of poor sales is eventually priced as clearance.

Given this data from Pinterest, the senior vice president feels it would be beneficial to change the inventory at Fright Night Costumes. The senior vice president wants your opinions on how to best change the costume inventory, creating new percentages for each costume type. The senior vice president also wants you to analyze the benefits and risks involved with adding Obscurity based costumes, now that the television show is off the air.


Randi Bibiano
Competitive Events Specialist

As DECA’s competitive events specialist, Randi primarily authors role-play scenarios for the collegiate and high school division’s competitive events programs. She also serves as DECA’s liaison for the Virtual Business Challenge and Stock Market Game. Randi assists with the recruitment of judges for both the high school and collegiate International Career Development Conferences. Randi has worked for DECA since 1998.

Discussion Questions

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Classroom Connection

Career CLuster:


Instructional Area(s):


Performance Indicators:

Explain the principles of supply and demand
Identify factors affecting a business’s profit
Determine factors affecting business risk
Translate research findings into actionable business recommendations