Halloween to Scare Up $8 Billion in Spending

By Christina Cheddar Berk, CNBC.com

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.

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The average person will fork out about $79.82 on decorations, costumes, and candy, up from $72.31 last year.

A bigger part of the budget this year will go to costumes. Although the average person will spend about $28.65 on costumes, up slightly from $26.52 in 2011, retailers and costume manufacturers are saying that costumes continue to become more elaborate each year and shoppers are buying more items to go along with their costume.

Cheryl Kerzner, vice president of product design and marketing at Jakks Pacific's Disguise unit, said the company has been designing more costumes with higher-quality fabric, zippers and other embellishments to meet the needs of shoppers who want better-fitting costumes that wear more like traditional apparel.

She also finds that retail buyers are more willing to try new things and stock more accessories, such as wigs, knee-highs, tights, and tutus. These items are being used either to make sure that a costume has all the "bells and whistles" or to customize an original look the shopper is trying to create.

Social media meanwhile is expected to play a bigger role in how people select their costumes. According to the survey, about 15.2 percent of consumers will be turning to their friends on Facebook for costume inspiration, while about 7.1 percent will search the pictures on Pinterest for ideas.

All told, families with children who plan to dress up for the holiday will spend about $1.1 billion on their children's costumes, slightly more than last year.

However, adults continue to be more active participants, and are expected to spend about $1.4 billion on costumes, up from $1.2 billion in 2011.

And don't forget the four-legged friends. About 15.1 percent of consumers surveyed plan on dressing up their pets, with spending on pet costumes seen reaching $370 million, up from $310 million last year.
The survey was based on the responses from 9,393 consumers, and was conducted from Sept. 5 to Sept. 11, 2012.


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