NEW YORK — When it comes to Halloween makeup, only the niche brands are willing to step up to the scary occasion.

Halloween has grown into the second biggest retail holiday in terms of consumer spending after Christmas, according to Chris Riddle, senior creative consultant at American Greetings, the card company that closely tracks all things holiday.

Riddle reported that $6.9 billion will be spent this year on Halloween paraphernalia. That includes about $2 billion on candy, $2.7 billion for cards and party goods and some $700 million for home decor. Costume sales come in at about $1.5 billion.

Several mass market beauty companies have gotten into the act in recent years by developing ghoulish seasonal promotions featuring black-and-white nail polish, spray-on orange hair color, and glittery blood red lip gloss. This season Blue Cross Beauty Products is offering body glitter in pumpkin-shaped containers, and is emphasizing glow in the dark products.

Sources say sales for the niche beauty companies that participate in the holiday can range between $5 million and $20 million.

William McMenemy, executive vice president, marketing for Del Laboratories, said its NYC New York Color brand is offering several promotions this year, including displays with temporary tattoos, nail polish and press on nails that glow in the dark.

While Halloween would seem a natural fit for cosmetics makers, most of the larger brands tend to stay away.

As pointed out by McMenemy, getting involved can be a frightening endeavor. “It is a little tricky because it is a one-day holiday. There is a risk in trying to do too much.” Unsold merchandise becomes a burden. The upside for smaller companies is it gives them a chance to break onto store shelves because there is not as much competition.

Cover Girl had entered the fray three years ago with a promotion with its Crackle Lacquer, but has not returned since. Maybelline also does not have anything on counter this year.

So supplying partygoers with black lacquer and such remains firmly in the hands of Markwins with its Wet ‘n’ Wild Fantasy Makers collection, Ardell with its Fright Night promotion, along with Del and Blue Cross Beauty Products and a smattering of others.Shawn Haynes, marketing manager at Markwins, said next year Wet ‘n’ Wild’s offerings will be expanded with Halloween makeup kits, borrowing on the expertise of its new parent. The expanded selections, he anticipates, “could double our [Halloween] business.”

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