Halloween Spending is Up, but Trick-or-Treaters Not Making Crazy Hauls

Filed under: Holidays, News, In The News, Weird But True, New In Pop Culture


Halloween decorations

Consumers aren't scared to spend on Halloween decorations. Credit: Getty Images


The Great Pumpkin may be bouncing back from the lows of the recession, but expect less candy and seeing last year's costumes again, as some families still try to hold down costs.

Americans will spend about $5.8 billion on candy and costumes this Halloween, with the average American household spending $66.28 per person this year on costumes, candy and decorations, according to a new survey by the National Retail Federation, a merchants' trade group. Most of that will be spent on costumes ($23.37), followed by candy ($20.29), decorations ($18.66) and greeting cards ($3.95).

Spending is expected to grow from $56.31 per person last year, almost back to the $66.54 spent in 2008, when the recession started to hurt.

But parents are still feeling the pain: The survey found 30.1 percent of adults polled say the state of the economy is still affecting their Halloween plans, and 86.8 percent say they plan to spend less overall. Some will buy less candy (45.1 percent), reuse last year's decorations (30.7 percent), cut back on activities such as haunted houses (22.3 percent), make their own costumes (19.5 percent) or recycle last year's (18.5 percent).

"Though Halloween spending will be much more robust than a year ago, consumers will still err on the side of caution," says Phil Rist, executive vice president of strategic initiatives at market research firm BIGresearch. "Americans are excited about Halloween but are still being frugal and pinching their pennies where they can."

Indeed, grownups continue to cut into the kids' trick-or-treating action this year: The survey found 40.1 percent of adults say they will dress up in a costume this Halloween, the highest rate since the NRF started polling. And adults will spend more on costumes for themselves than their kids this year: The NRF is calculating the total spent on adult Halloween costumes will reach $990 million, more than the $837 million that will be spent on children's costumes.

Related: Baby Lady Gaga Costume Sure to Be Hot for Halloween

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