Pumpkinstein and a $7 Billion Halloween Industry
Remember when Halloween was mostly for pre-pubescent kids who made their own costumes and walked the streets of their own neighborhoods -- sometimes WITHOUT an adult chaperone?
I do, but by admitting that, I’m exposing the huge generational gap between my Gen-X contemporaries and kids these days. Now, if an unaccompanied minor knocked on your door after dark and demanded candy, the police might be called and the child could end up in foster care. And that’s not all that’s changed in the last couple of decades.
Halloween has grown beyond the simple days of trick-or-treating and into a $7 billion business, according to the National Retail Federation, as retailers go to greater lengths each year to try to surpass the previous season.
Just over $2 billion was spent last year on candy alone, according to industry figures. And long ago it stopped being just a candy-driven holiday for children. Among the biggest money earners are adult costumes, with costs typically ranging from $30 to well over $100. Last year, in fact, consumers spent $310 million on costumes for their pets.
Enter Tony Dighera into this spooky consumer bubble. As an organic farmer with a 40-acre plot located north or Los Angeles, he was determined to bring a new creature to life that could grab a share of the big Halloween candy bowl. Though he was fairly new to farming, Mr. Dighera saw profit to be made in strangely shaped pumpkins.
So he created a pumpkinstein.
Grown in a plastic mold, the pumpkins bear the distinctive face of the Frankenstein monster, and Mr. Dighera has harvested roughly 5,500 of them this year. With a wry smile, a button nose, a slightly furrowed brow and ears sticking out just slightly, the pumpkins are easy to mistake for something carved from wax.
Their distinctive if unnatural shape is so far a huge success. Mr. Dighera sold out his crop to suppliers months ago, offering the pumpkins wholesale for $75 each. Retailers expect each to fetch $100 or more in the weeks leading up to Halloween.