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Walmart Reminds Sellers to Be Tasteful Around Halloween

Halloween is a time when people let down their hair when they dress up in costumes, but retailers can catch flack for accommodating shoppers’ proclivities. Walmart recently issued a reminder to sellers to avoid listing Halloween items that are in “poor taste” on its marketplace.

Per Walmart’s Prohibited Products Policy, all new sellers offering Halloween items must have their products pre-approved, it reminded sellers, and advised existing sellers to review their products to ensure that items are compliant with its policy.

“Be especially mindful of any items that may be considered offensive or in poor taste,” it warned.

Halloween and select seasonal products are among the categories requiring pre-approval from Walmart before sellers may offer them for sale, according to the Walmart Prohibited Products Policy for Marketplace Sellers.

Last year, 47% of consumers planned to dress up in costume for Halloween (and one in five planned to dress their pet up in a costume), according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation in early September 2022. It had predicted total Halloween spending for 2022 to reach a record $10.6 billion; this year’s predictions will likely be released in a few weeks.

While marketplaces want to ensure sellers’ listings don’t get them ensnared in controversy, sellers may have a complaint of their own. When we searched Google for “Amazon Halloween policy,” a Reddit thread came up from 2019 offering the following advice: “It’s almost Halloween, don’t buy an expensive costume that you will only use once, “borrow” one from Amazon and send it back the next day.”

Google also offered up in the “People also ask” feature:

  • Does Amazon let you return Halloween costumes?
  • How long do you have to return a costume on Amazon?

Selling Halloween costumes online carries its own risks for marketplace sellers, as consumers can view them as “rentals” rather than purchases.

Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She’s a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of “Turn eBay Data Into Dollars” (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, “Blogging Heroes” (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 – present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 – present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

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