Halloween brings boon for U.S. retailers

halloween children

WASHINGTON — Fewer Americans may be celebrating the upcoming spooktacular Halloween holiday, but it’s still an economic boon for retailers.

According to NRF’s Halloween Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, nearly 158 million consumers will participate in Halloween activities, slightly less than the survey high of 170 million people last year.

Those celebrating will also trim their budgets, with the average celebrant expected to spend $75.03 on decor, costumes, candy and fun, down from $79.82 last year.

Overall, average spending on Halloween has increased 54.7 percent since 2005, with total spending estimated to reach $6.9 billion in 2013.

“Still one of the most beloved and anticipated consumer holidays, Halloween will be far from a bust this year,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

Playing dress-up

One of the most cherished parts of the consumer holiday — dressing in costume — will once again be popular with celebrants.

According to the survey, 43.6 percent of people plan to dress up and will spend a total of $2.6 billion on traditional and not-so-traditional costumes.

Specifically, consumers will shell out $1.04 billion on children’s costumes, and $1.22 billion on adult costumes.

When it comes to inspiration for costume ideas, one-third (32.9%) will search for costume ideas online, another third (32.8%) will look for new ideas in a store, and one-fifth (20.8%) will seek advice from friends or family.

Of those buying or making costumes, the average person will spend $27.85 similar to the $28.65 spent last year.

When it comes to pets, 13.8 percent of those celebrating will take the extra time to find the perfect costume for their favorite four-legged friend, and will spend approximately $330 million.


Additionally, celebrants will spend $2.08 billion on candy and $360 million on greeting cards. Second only to Christmas in terms of spending on decorations, Americans will spend $1.96 billion on life-size skeletons, fake cob webs, mantle pieces and other festive decorations.

There are a variety of ways Americans will celebrate this year, with handing out candy being the most popular (72.0%).

Others will carve a pumpkin (44.2%), visit a haunted house (20.3%), take their child trick-or-treating (31.7%) and decorate their home and/or yard (47.5%). Three in 10 (30.9%) will make the most of the holiday by attending or hosting a party.

Stepping back

Despite the anticipation of the popular fall event, one-fourth of U.S. consumers (25.2%) say the state of the economy will impact their Halloween spending plans — nearly nine in 10 (86.1%) will spend less overall, up slightly from 83.5 percent last year.

Additionally, 32.7% will buy less candy and 18.1% will make a costume instead of buying one.

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