Forbes says sales are off but their story is based on forecasts not actual numbers -- and bizarrely focuses only on costume purchases.
According to other researchers, "Halloween sales are expected to reach a record-breaking $6 billion in 2009, up 4.2 percent from the $5.77 billion generated last year."
Halloween falls on a Saturday this year so I would have thought: more parties, more decorations. But I noticed that Garden Ridge had the sparsest, most disappointing selection ever (No SpookyTown!) and their merchandise seemed less gory and more Harvest Celebration-y. Michaels and Target, though, looked about the same as last year. I guess everyone had to choose which forecast to believe.