A cold start to the Halloween holiday weekend is in store for many heavily populated areas this year. The cold will creep into parts of the Upper Midwest and then move south and into the East toward the holiday weekend (Oct 26th- 30th). For many, the front will drop temperatures significantly from prior week, gearing up demand for fall merchandise (see map).

This cold air will be a shopping treat for seasonal merchandise, especially when compared to Halloween last year. Recall that Halloween weekend 2010 was a delightfully pleasant one, with near normal temperatures and dry conditions for much of the U.S. Temperatures for this year are even cold enough to produce the first significant lake effect snow on the southern and eastern sides of the Great Lakes. Morning freezes will move as far south as the northern Gulf States.

According to a 2011 NRF survey, 7 of every 10 Americans plan to participate in Halloween, the most in 9 years. Total Halloween spending is expected to top $6.8B. With the significant cool down for the eastern half of the country, consumers will be in a "need" mind set and will cause a lift in sales. While Halloween Day itself (Oct 31st) is expected to warm back up from the cold front, many shoppers will be celebrating throughout the weekend and will be flocking into stores to get their fall items such as fleece, outerwear, hot cider, fire logs, and electric blankets.

Residents in the southern half of the country might find this cold front refreshing, coming off what has been a record breaking warm summer. Conversely, the west will remain seasonably warm with mostly dry conditions. Areas of the Pacific Northwest will experience a few weekend showers as the systems move in from the west, but no traffic limiting precipitation.