Americans are poised to shake off the nightmares on Wall Street, the National Retail Federation (NRF) finds. Nearly seven-in-10 Americans (68.6) percent plant to celebrate Halloween on Monday, according to the NRF’s annual Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. This is up from 63.8 percent last year, and the most in the retail federation's nine-year survey history. Halloween spending is expected to reach $6.86 billion as revelers are expected to shell out just over $72 per person on costumes, candy and decorations, about a $6 increase over last year.
For an economy that gives new meaning to the term “the walking dead,” Halloween arrives just in time to give business a jolt. The retail federation survey finds increases over last year in those who will be dressing in costume (43.9 percent vs. 40.1 percent), throwing or attending a party (34.3 percent vs. 30.3 percent), and visit a haunted house (22.9 percent vs. 20.8 percent).
Americans are expected to spend $1 billion on children’s costumes, up from $840 million last year and $1.21 billion on adult costumers, an increase from $990 million in 2010. They are also expected to shell out $310 million on costumes for their pets (now that’s scary!)
Halloween is second to Christmas in spending on decorations, the retail federation said.
Not that everyone is throwing caution to the wind. Nearly one-third said that the economy will impact their Halloween plans. Most (87.1 percent) said they will try to spend less over all, while nearly 20 percent said they will make rather than purchase a costume. Forty percent brave souls said they will buy less candy (we can’t help but wonder if sales of eggs and toilet paper spike for Halloween).
Those who have procrastinated in buying a pumpkin could have difficulty in scaring up a traditional jack-o-lantern. Heavy rains in spring and early summer, subsequent flooding, Hurricane Irene and even a nasty fungus are being blamed for wiping out pumpkin patches in the Midwest and along the East Coast.
There are creative options available for fruit and vegetable savvy Halloween revelers. Several craft websites recommend pumpkin alternatives such as squashes, watermelons and apples.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.