By Christina Cheddar Berk, CNBC.com
Trick or Treat
Gone are the days when you could throw a sheet over your head and call it a Halloween costume. Halloween is serious business. Retailers expect Americans to spend about $8 billion on the day, according to a National Retail Federation survey conducted by BIGinsight.
Of course, part of the fun of the holiday is coming up with a creative Halloween costume. About $1.1 billion will be spent on children's costumes this year.
For kids, there will be plenty of the traditional costumes: princesses, super heroes, witches and pirates. But even these popular themes are subject to interpretation.
We've taken a look at what the trendiest costumes are for kids this year. Click ahead to find out what they are, some may surprise you.
See the full slideshow: Trendiest Halloween Costumes for Kids, 2012
Fuzzy Owl Costume
Fuzzy Owl Costume
Suggested Price: $34
Give a hoot, this baby is cute.
Forget the ill-fitting vinyl costumes. These days, the selection of
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By Christina Cheddar Berk, CNBC.comRead More »from Trendiest Halloween Costumes for Kids, 2012
By Jennifer Parker, CNBC.comRead More »from How the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Could Hurt Married Couples
There are many financial perks that come with being married. Filing taxes generally isn't one of them. If a complex, arcane tax code leaves singles confused and frustrated, try doubling the confusion associated with credits, deductions and income.
For all the rules of thumb, there are myriad exceptions, which your accountant should help you navigate. Not sure if you're getting sound advice? Read on, because these experts give a frank account of tax planning for married couples - the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Some couples receive tax bonuses, and some get tax penalties. Trying to game the system is generally a futile exercise, experts say. "The marriage penalty applies when a married taxpayer filing a joint return ends up paying more taxes than two individuals would earning the same amount of income," says tax research analyst Lindsey Buchholz of H&R Block.
[More from CNBC: What You Should Know About Your Spouse's Money]
Trick or TreatRead More »from Trendiest Halloween Costumes for Adults 2012
With nearly seven in 10 Americans planning to celebrate Halloween, Oct. 31 is one of the fastest growing holidays of the year. And for good reason, it is a chance to break away from day-to-day routines to let loose and have some fun.
A National Retail Federation survey said Americans will spend $8 billion on Halloween this year, and a good chunk of that will be spent on costumes.
Don't be fooled: Halloween isn't just for kids. In fact, more money is expected to be spent on adult costumes this year than on costumes for children.
The trade group estimates there will 6 million adults dressing as a witch, and 3.2 million dressing as a vampire. Trailing those costume choices are the traditional fare: pirates, super heroes, and zombies. Yet costume retailers also see some other trends creeping into Halloween fare this year.
Among them is a growing preference for humorous costumes. Some of these are based on popular television shows or newsworthy public figures.
- CNBC | Work + Money – Fri, Sep 28, 2012 10:04 AM EDT
By Robert Frank, CNBC.comRead More »from Romney Leads Among Women (as Long as They're Wealthy)
It's become conventional wisdom this election season that Mitt Romney can't attract the women's vote. But there is one group of women who plan to vote en masse for Mitt in November: affluent women.
According to a new poll from the American Affluence Research Center, half of women who belong to households worth more than $800,000 plan to vote for Romney in November. That compares with only 36 percent of affluent women who plan to vote for Obama.
Fully 16 percent of wealthy women are undecided - twice the percentage of undecideds for all American voters.
Affluent women, in fact, are more likely to vote for Mitt than affluent men, about 46 percent of whom plan to vote Romney.
[More from CNBC: Most Expensive States to Raise a Kid]
Ron Kurtz, president of the Affluence Research Center, said that affluent women voters tend to focus on economic issues like jobs, the economic recovery and the deficit more than other women. And they see Romney as a better
By Danielle Kennedy, CNBC.comRead More »from Finding a New Way to Fight Aging—And a New Market
Cosmetics companies are waging the war against aging on a whole new front: correcting skin tone.
"For years it was wrinkles, lines, wrinkles, lines and that was pretty much the only thing you ever saw any evolution in," said Karen Grant, vice president and global beauty industry analyst at market research company NPD Group. However, over the past few years there has been a leveling of the playing field, where anti-wrinkle is still important, but skin tone correction is being elevated in importance in battling the aging process.
The appetite for anti-aging products has been constant, as consumers look for noninvasive ways to rejuvenate their skin as they age.
This trend isn't slowing down anytime soon, according to Connie Maneaty, an analyst at BMO Capital Market. "(Older populations) are going to drive the anti-aging wrinkle cream fountain of youth type sales for a long time," she said.
But the sea change toward focusing on correcting skin
By Christina Cheddar Berk, CNBC.comRead More »from Halloween to Scare Up $8 Billion in Spending
Get out the pumpkins and the ghosts, stock up the candy bowl, and find a costume, it's almost Halloween.
With a record 170 million people planning to celebrate Halloween this year, the holiday continues to be embraced by many as a time to let loose and have a good time. That also means for retailers, there is some money to be made.
Spending on the holiday is expected to rise to $8 billion, up 17.5 percent from last year, according to the results of a survey conducted by BIGinsight on behalf of the retail industry's trade group, the National Retail Federation. A pick-up in spending would also bode well for the sluggish U.S. economy.
According to the survey, seven in 10 Americans - some 71.5 percent - will celebrate this year, up from 68.6 percent last year, and the most in the survey's ten-year history.
See this slideshow: Hot Holiday Toys 2012
The average person will fork out about $79.82 on decorations, costumes, and candy, up from $72.31
By Colleen Kane, CNBC.comRead More »from Biggest Companies Run by Women
Women account for less than 5 percent of the CEOs in S&P 500 companies, but the number is edging up. Fortune 500 corporations hit a record 20 when Marissa Mayer joined Yahoo! earlier this year.
The following list consists of 10 women CEOs who run the highest valued corporations, from the fields of technology to food and beverage to chemicals and energy services. Note that company values are determined by their market capitalization numbers.
This roster includes leaders who are remarkable not only for their accomplishments and titles. It includes several women who were firsts of their kind in different categories. Read ahead to see the biggest companies run by women, as determined by the current S&P 500.
See the full list: Biggest Companies Run by Women
CEO: Virginia "Ginni" Rometty
Company value: $236.226 billion
Ginni Rometty took on the role of CEO of International Business Machines in January. She joined the company in 1981 and held numerous
By Jennifer Parker, CNBC.comRead More »from What You Should Know About Your Spouse’s Money
You wouldn't merge companies without combing through a potential business partner's finances. In financial terms, the joint venture known as marriage is similar.
Sound unromantic? Consider this: the most commonly cited cause of divorce in the U.S. is unexpected financial stress. So it follows that one of the wisest ways to protect a marriage is honest financial openness and planning.
"Regardless of your attitudes about money, spouses must give full disclosure on their finances because each person is liable for the other," says certified financial planner Dean Harman of Harman Wealth Management.
Want to be good at the business of marriage? Take a deep breath and put everything on the table.
[More from CNBC: How the 'Fiscal Cliff' Could Hurt Your Marriage]
The Debt Talk
For many couples, talking about debt is the most difficult, but most important, financial discussion to have. Past debts from either spouse can affect your
By Cindy Perman,CNBC.comRead More »from Hate Meetings? Why Most Are Complete Failures
Do you hate meetings? Do you feel like most of them are a waste of your time?
This meeting? Total failure. My nap? Total success!Well, join the club, sunshine: Executives consider more than two-thirds (67 percent) of meetings to be failures, according to research by Rick Gilbert, an executive coach (www.powerspeaking.com) for companies including Apple, Adobe, Cisco, eBay and Oracle and the author of "Speaking Up: Surviving Executive Presentations."
"Maybe the numbers weren't right or the data weren't good," Gilbert said. Maybe the subordinates giving the presentation didn't understand what the executives were asking for. "The meeting had to be rescheduled and it took up a lot of time."
And a lot of valuable time at that: If you figure that the average CEO is paid $12 to $13 million, that's $6,000 an hour. Imagine you have more than one high-level executive at that meeting and failure becomes expensive.
[More From CNBC: Employees Behaving Badly: Vampires, Terrorists & Gossips]
By Gilbert's estimates, failed
By Jeff Cox, CNBC.comRead More »from Record 46 Million Americans Are on Food Stamps
The number of Americans on food stamps hit a record high in June, and economists don't expect much improvement as long as unemployment remains high.
Those receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program numbered 46.37 million, the government said in a report that hit just days ahead of the monthly nonfarm payrolls report, which the Labor Department releases Friday.
The two numbers are inextricably linked as the economy battles its way back from the crippling recession that the National Bureau of Economic Research says ended in 2009.
"The unemployment data is not really telling us the true story of how many people are underemployed," says Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York. Food stamps are "a good indication of how the income of the workforce has stagnated and more and more people are applying for food stamps."
With 22.4 million households using food stamps, fully 15