Halloween spending will be up this year

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More costumes than ever will be flying off the shelves as Americans gear up to celebrate the spookiest holiday of the year, according to the National Retail Federation.

NRF’s Halloween Consumer Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, showed that more than two-thirds (67.4%) of celebrants will buy Halloween costumes, the most in the survey’s 11-year history. The average person will spend $77.52 this Halloween, compared with $75.03 last year. Total spending on Halloween this year is expected to reach $7.4 billion.

Noting Halloween is one of the fastest-growing consumer holidays, NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said, “There’s no question that the variety of adult, child and even pet costumes now available has driven the demand and popularity of Halloween among consumers of all ages. And, with the holiday falling on a Friday this year, we fully expect there will be a record number of consumers taking to the streets, visiting haunted houses and throwing unforgettable celebrations.”

Party-goers will splurge on spooky and fun garb to wear this year as $2.8 billion will be spent on costumes overall. Specifically, celebrants will shell out $1.1 billion on children’s costumes, and $1.4 billion on adult costumes. It is clear Fido and Fluffy will not be forgotten: Americans will spend $350 million on costumes for their furry friends.

Candy and greeting cards alike will be popular this season, as consumers will spend $2.2 billion on candy this year and 35.9 percent of people will send Halloween greeting cards. With Americans planning to spend $2 billion on decorations for the frightful holiday, life-size ghosts, pumpkins and festive décor will be aplenty on lawns and doorsteps throughout the country.

Consumers will celebrate the holiday in different ways, but topping the list of planned activities is handing out candy (71.1%), while others will decorate their homes and yards (46.7%), and dress in costume (45.8%). One-third of Americans will throw or attend a party (33.4%), up from last year (30.9%).

Consumers hit the stores and the Internet early to get the first pick of costumes and candy. According to the survey, nearly one-third of celebrants (32.1%) had planned to start their Halloween shopping before the first of October and 43.3 percent of celebrants planned to in the first two weeks of October. One-quarter (24.6%) planned to wait until the last minute and shop the last two weeks of October.

“Social media is a great tool for consumers to find inspiration for all of their Halloween activities, including finding tips for decorating their homes and yards, looking for personal and even family costume ideas, and even finding the best deals from retailers,” said Prosper Insights Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “As the popularity of Halloween continues to grow to unseen levels, there is no doubt that Americans this year will find ways to get in the spirit, looking for affordable, fun ways to celebrate with their families.”

For some consumers the U.S. economy is still top-of-mind. According to the survey, 18.8 percent say the state of the economy will affect their Halloween spending. Specifically, 19.7 percent will use their creative skills and make their own costumes rather than buying a new one this Halloween.