Halloween is now second only to Christmas in terms of its importance to c-stores, according to retailers who enjoyed another bumper night last Friday.

Vince Maloney, who owns two Budgens stores in the Home Counties, said Halloween had become more lucrative than Easter on the spectrum of seasonal events. “Halloween is getting bigger and bigger each year and there’s margin in it, too. It is second only to Christmas now. There’s no margin in Easter eggs.

“We sold out of pumpkins despite raising the price, and sold out of outfits for the first time. Everything sold well, including related items such as confectionery. I was left with just two pairs of plastic teeth.”

Harj Dhasee, of Village Stores (Nisa) Mickleton, Gloucestershire, agreed that Halloween brought higher profit and margins than Easter. “There’s about 60% margins on outfits and we’re not fighting against the mults. We sold out of bumper packs of mixed sweets which had huge margin.

“In terms of a profit generator it’s brilliant, but it’s still an after-thought for most people. The Easter weekend is still the biggest in terms of turnover.”

Simon Biddle, of Simply Fresh, Redditch, added: “We had a cracking Halloween and could have sold double what we sold out of, especially with pumpkins. We were well up on last year.

“It’s becoming more of an event each year; more people are engaging with it and having Halloween parties. I agree that it’s probably become more important to us than Easter.”

But Peter Sichel, who owns a Spar shop in Holmer Green, Buckinghamshire, said the pound shop in nearby Wycombe had out-competed him on costumes. “We just do sweets, pumpkins and toffee apples; there’s no point trying to compete with the pound shop on costumes anymore, it’s exactly what they’re there for. But we did sell out of pumpkins and we had more than ever before.”

According to Mintel, sales were expected to reach £240m.