Record Halloween Costume Sales

More costumes than ever will fly off the shelves (without broomsticks) as Americans gear up to celebrate Halloween at month's end, a survey says.

More than two-thirds (67%) of celebrants will buy Halloween costumes for the holiday, the most in the 11-year history of the National Retail Federation’s Halloween Consumer Spending Survey. The average ghoul-to-be will spend $77.52 this Halloween, compared with $75.03 last year, with total spending on Halloween this year projected to hit $7.4 billion.

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. Americans will also spend $350 million on costumes for pets.

Candy sales account for nearly a third of Halloween spending, with consumers forecasting about $2.2 billion this year, followed closely by decorations at $2 billion. Look for life-size ghosts, pumpkins and festive décor on lawns and doorsteps throughout the country. About a third of people (36%) will send Halloween greeting cards.

Among other findings:

  • Topping the list of planned activities is handing out candy (71%), decorating homes and yards (47%) and dressing in costume (46%). A third of Americans will throw or attend a party (33%), more than last year (31%).
  • Nearly a third (32%) started Halloween shopping before the first of October. Almost half (43%) kick off their shopping in the first two weeks of October and a quarter (25%) will shop during the last two weeks before the holiday.
  • More than a third (34%) look for costume inspiration online or in a retail store or costume shop (33%). A growing number (11%) will turn to Pinterest for costume ideas, up from 9% last year. Young adults will drive the most Pinterest traffic: 21% of those age 18 to 24 will turn to the site for ideas, as will 21% of celebrants age 25 to 34.
  • Almost a fifth (19%) say the U.S. economy will impact their Halloween spending. Nearly two in five (20%) of those impacted will make their own costumes rather than buy a new one.