The transatlantic Halloween divide

The rise of Halloween in graphics

It's been hard to avoid the heaps of pumpkins, ranges of ghoulish fancy dress outfits and grisly confectionery on offer on the UK High Street this year.

And, according to retail analysts, Halloween - much loved by consumers in the US - has never been more lucrative for traders this side of the Atlantic.

Planet Retail says UK spending on goods associated with the Celtic festival has rocketed from just £12m back in 2001 to an expected £280m this year - a 23-fold increase.

Analysts put the recent success down to the increasing quantity of Halloween-related goods on offer, especially at major supermarkets, the public's desire to escape the impact of the economic downturn and the popularity of US vampire-related TV programmes and films, such as True Blood and Twilight.

"Combined with the fact that Halloween falls on a weekend, we expect sales to reach £280m this year," says Natalie Berg, Planet Retail's global research director.

The festival is now bringing in so much for some retailers that it has become the third biggest money-spinning event in the UK calendar after Christmas and Easter - out selling both Valentine's Day and Mother's Day.

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