Ghouls Predicted to Spend Down for Oct. 31

Only 158 million zombies, vampires, werewolves and other monsters will prowl our nation this October 31, according to the National Retail Federation’s recent Halloween Spending Survey.

The number is down from the survey high of 170 million people celebrating Halloween in some way last year. Those who do fete the day will also trim their budgets: The average celebrant expects to spend $75.03 on décor, costumes, candy and fun, down from $79.82 last year.

Overall, average spending on Halloween has increased 55% since 2005, with total spending estimated to reach $6.9 billion this year.

According to the early-September survey of 5,290 consumers, 44% of people plan to dress up and will spend a total of $2.6 billion on traditional and awe-inspiring costumes. Consumers will shell out $1.04 billion on children’s costumes and $1.22 billion on adult costumes.

Not all monsters have two legs: Fourteen percent of those celebrating will spend some $330 million on costumes for pets.

Celebrants will spend $2.08 billion on candy and $360 million on greeting cards. Halloween ranks second only to Christmas in terms of spending on decorations, and Americans plan to drop $1.96 billion on skeletons, fake cobwebs, mantel pieces and other festive decorations.

One-third (33%) began shopping before September 30. An additional 67% of consumers are shopping in October: Forty-four percent will begin in the first two weeks of the month, and 24% will wait until the final two weeks.

One-third (33%) will search online for costume ideas; another third (33%) will look in a store for new ideas; and a fifth (21%) will seek advice from friends or family. Additionally, 14% will check Facebook for inspiration, and 4% will review blogs. Nearly one in 10 (9%) will scour Pinterest for costume ideas, up from 7% last year. Of those buying or making costumes, the average person will spend $27.85, similar to the $28.65 spent last year. 

Top Halloween activities are handing out candy (72%), decorating the home or yard, or both (47%), and carving a pumpkin (44%). About a third of Americans take their children trick-or-treating (32%) or attend or host a party (31%). About 20% of people visit a haunted house.