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People plan to spend more on Halloween

Despite economic goblins, the average consumer plans to spend $66.28. We suggest cheap costumes, including a DIY baby Gaga.

By Teresa Mears Sep 28, 2010 10:22AM

Consumers are willing to spend more this Halloween to hide from reality. We can't figure out if that translates as good economic news or not.

The National Retail Federation's annual survey finds that Americans plan to spend an average of $66.28 per person this year for Halloween, up from $56.31 last year. That brings spending back to 2008 levels.


We're not sure who's planning to spend $66.28, since most people we know are probably closer to a budget of $6.28, but the survey does say people 18 to 24 years old are the most enthusiastic about celebrating. Post continues after video.

NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay had this to say about the mood:

In recent years, Halloween has provided a welcome break from reality, allowing many Americans a chance to escape from the stress the economy has put on their family and incomes. This year, people are expected to embrace Halloween with even more enthusiasm.

Here's how people plan to celebrate, according to the retail federation:

  • 40.1% plan to wear a costume, up from 33.4% in 2009.
  • 33.3% of people will throw or attend a party.
  • 72.2% will hand out candy.
  • 46.3% will carve a pumpkin.
  • 20.8% will visit a haunted house.
  • 31.7% will take their children trick-or-treating.
  • 50.1% will decorate their home or yard.

Here is how consumers will spend their money:

  • Costumes: $23.37.
  • Candy: $20.29.
  • Decoration: $18.66.
  • Greeting cards: $3.95.

But no amount of Halloween fantasy can erase what remains a hard economic reality for many. A lot of revelers plan to economize. About 45% said they will buy less candy, 30.7% will reuse last year's decorations, 18.5% will wear last year's costume, 19.5% will make a costume, and 22.3% plan to cut back on activities such as haunted houses.


"Though Halloween spending will be much more robust than a year ago, consumers will still err on the side of caution," Phil Rist, executive vice president of strategic initiatives for BIGresearch, which did the survey, said in the NSF news release. "Americans are excited about Halloween but are still being frugal and pinching their pennies where they can."


We came across several good suggestions for economizing on costumes. Green Halloween has details on National Costume Swap Day, plus photos of costumes created with Goodwill finds.


If you want to dress your little one like Lady Gaga but don't want to spend $39.99 on the Lady Gaga baby costume, Metalia at Aiming Low has detailed instructions and photos on how to make your own little GooGoo into a Gaga without gagging on the price. No meat is involved.


How do you plan to spend your Halloween budget this year, and what are your best tips for Halloween fun on the cheap?


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