It's almost 'trick or treat' time. But with the ongoing financial crisis, Halloween this year is proving scary for businesses, especially those selling costumes and decorations. 'Business is bad. Many companies are not willing to spend on decorations for Halloween,' said Ng Wai-hung, owner of Choi Chi Gift Shop, which sells festive costumes and decorations. 'One company which shelled out HK$50,000 on decorations last year, only spent HK$7,000 this year. In the past, companies like shopping malls, restaurants and travel agencies decorated their premises in early October, but this year is different.' A few shopping malls and restaurants had approached Mr Ng's shop in the middle of this month, but by then it was too late for him to order stock. 'In the past, customers would not approach us after mid-October as Halloween decorations would already be in place by then. We had no stock and were unable to meet their needs in such a short time.' Halloween sales had fallen 60 per cent compared with last year, he said, and he expected tough times ahead. Eugenie Shek Cheung-yee, a manager at Magzila Limited, which specialises in festival decorations and sells its products on the internet, said: 'In previous years, corporate clients bought those devil headbands for all their staff for Halloween parties. But none of our corporate clients did so this year.' Ms Shek admitted that a few corporate clients had cancelled orders. She feared business would be worse next year. 'Usually people are more willing to spend towards the end of the year, therefore we have more business for Halloween and Christmas. Also, corporate and private customers might not spend on decorations for the Lunar New Year and Valentine's Day next year,' she said. However, there were exceptions. 'Many young mothers are willing to spend and dress up their kids during the festival. These mothers spend hundreds of dollars on Halloween toys and appear unfazed by falling stock prices.' Meanwhile, Argha Sen, regional marketing director of Toys 'R' Us Asia, said the company's sales were not affected because customers looked to its stores for safe toys.