3.1 C
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

Nothing spooky about the business opportunities

October brings a big spike in candy sales, second only to Christmas, and it’s prime time for pumpkin growers


Restored Victorian home in Elmira the subject of TV competition

Along with the influx of visitors that comes with the holiday season, Elmira will see one new...

New MP jumps to the next stage

Ever since he was elected as the new Liberal Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga during the October...

End of an era for MP

Two weeks having passed since the federal election, Harold Albrecht has had time to reflect on his...

Meet the candidates

By Veronica Reiner & Aneta Rebiszewski Five candidates are vying for your vote in...


overcast clouds
3.1 ° C
6 °
0 °
70 %
90 %
6 °
7 °
5 °
2 °
1 °

All Hallows’ Eve means costumes, candy and jack o’ lanterns. And also a booming business for those supplying us with all our Halloween requirements

Indeed, when it comes to one of the mainstays of the season, confectionaries, October is one of Canada’s most lucrative and demanding months of the year for businesses, second only to Christmas, which takes the cake.

According to a Statistics Canada survey of the country’s large retailers, there is a predicable October spike in candy, confectionery and snack food sales each year – and that demand has only become greater over the years. In 1997, the survey showed sales of $147,000 in October for those sugary goods; in 2016, those sales hit $392,000 in unadjusted dollars.

Still, at the Elmira Foodland, co-owner Doug Pagett notes that candies are not quite as coveted as they once were.

“It’s slowed somewhat because there are fewer kids,” he said. “We live out here and we don’t get nearly the amount of kids we got ten years ago, that’s for sure.”

Looking at the census data available, while the number of children in that prime trick-or-treating age bracket, between 5 to 14 years old, has grown in Elmira, it has not been by much. In 2011, there were 1,265 children in that age range; in 2016, that number was 1,325 – only a 4.5 per cent change. Compare that with growth in children Woolwich Township as a whole. From 2011 to 2016, the number of kids in this same age bracket grew 12.5 per cent to reach 3,545 last year.

Besides that, trends in consumer culture have changed, suggests Pagett.

“People are just more cautious about letting their kids go out too, for use. And there are more places, you know, more churches having Halloween parties and that kind of stuff instead of letting their kids go out,” he said.

Parents, moreover, are being more mindful of the amount of sugar in their children’s’ diets, and vendors are reacting to that change.

Doug Pagett of the Foodland supermarket in Elmira has seen a shift in demand for Halloween-related treats. [Faisal Ali / The Observer]
“The trends are changing on what they’re producing and making too – little packs of Goldfish crackers instead of candy and that kind of stuff. So the vendors are changing what they’re putting together for it too, so that part of the business has changed a bit, but the old standard stuff goes pretty good,” he said.

“[Halloween has] slowed somewhat but it’s still a big chunk of the business, there is no doubt about that.”

But while candy is good just about any time of the year, the same can’t be said for the classic pumpkin, which sees its moment in the spotlight during the October harvest, and then dives back into relative obscurity for the rest of the year.

“I’m always nervous for a couple days going into Halloween because I think I have tons left. It’s amazing when you come in in the morning and it’s gone because so many people are last-minute on it. It’s unbelievable,” said Pagett with a laugh.

That’s a good thing too because after Halloween the demand for the perishable product drops to nil, as Hugh Nauman, co-owner of Nauman’s Fresh from the Farm Produce in St. Clements, points out.

“Now we’re just into Halloween and once that’s over you are stuck with whatever you have left,” said Nauman.

The demand hits in two waves, he notes: in the lead-up to Thanksgiving and then Halloween, and then it immediately dips afterwards.

Year-to-year, the demand has remained fairly consistent, though he adds that because they sell outdoors, business is very much dependant on the weather.

Pagett concurs: “You sell a ton [of pumpkins] before Thanksgiving [with] people decorating, and then you get another good run of them like Halloween week when people are buying them to carve.”

But afterwards? “Oh they’re not worth a nickel the day after Halloween. You might as well throw them out in the field and let them rot the day after Halloween, that’s for sure.”

That’s why businesses will try to sell out before the Halloween day cut-off, he noted.

On the production side of business, pumpkin yield in the country has grown sizably in the last ten years. In 2007, numbers from Statistics Canada show that total production of pumpkins in the country has doubled from 40,000 tonnes in 2007 to 81,000 in 2016.

In Ontario however, which accounts for more than half of all pumpkin production in the country, the numbers have actually tripled. In 2016, the province produced 44,000 tonnes of pumpkins, compared with 17,000 in 2007, even as the acreage devoted to pumpkin growing has remained more or less unchanged over the same period of time.

Locally, Nauman, who grows the pumpkins that he sells, says that the number of pumpkins per acre dropped because of the lack of heat this season. The pumpkins themselves, however, have swelled in size because of the rain.

So all and all, Halloween is an excellent, if nerve-wracking, time to be in the candy and squash business.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


New watering system is powered by the sun

Many hands may make light work, but automating the process really lessens the load. That’s especially helpful when the work involves relying on volunteers to provide the manual labour.

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Wellesley rec. complex project moves into fundraising mode

Wellesley Township having cleared the way for a potential new $22-million recreation complex, the focus is now on putting together a fundraising campaign...

EDSS looks to make use of new push for skilled-trades training

With measures taken on the provincial level to encourage high school students to enter the skilled trades, EDSS is in the process...

Junior girls’ capture EDSS’ first WCSSAA basketball title

In a season that already saw the team rack up win after win, the EDSS junior girls’ basketball team reached new heights...

Woolwich stays course with economic development

Woolwich’s vacant economic development and tourism officer (EDTO) position will be retained, councillors decided this week despite any numbers or measures to show...

New St. Clements fire station officially open for service

The new fire station in St. Clements was officially declared open for service last Saturday. The $1.3-million project...

Virgil Wins the Lottery … but, then again, maybe not

It’s easy to day dream about striking it rich quick by winning the lottery, and all the possibilities that come along with...
- Advertisement -