Economy Watch: Halloween Spending to Creep Up This Year

Total spending for the holiday is expected to reach $8.4 billion, an all-time high in the National Retail Federation's 11-year history.

According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey on consumer spending around Halloween, which was recently conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, total spending for the holiday is expected to reach $8.4 billion, an all-time high in the survey’s 11-year history. U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average of $82.93 each, up from last year’s $74.34.

More than 171 million Americans are planning to partake in Halloween festivities in some way this year, to the benefit of retailers, both permanent and seasonal operations. According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $3.1 billion on costumes (purchased by 67 percent of Halloween shoppers), $2.5 billion on candy (94.3 percent), $2.4 billion on decorations (70 percent) and $390 million on greeting cards (35.4 percent).

When it comes to preparation, 71 percent of consumers plan to hand out candy, and nearly half will decorate their home or yard (49 percent), dress in costume (47 percent), or carve a pumpkin (46 percent). Fewer—but still a fair number—plan to throw or attend a party (34 percent), take their children trick-or-treating (30 percent), visit a haunted house (21 percent) or dress their pets in costume (16 percent).

Searching for costumes will lead consumers to online (35 percent) and in-store (29 percent) sources, the NRF said. Social media is the fastest-growing influencer for the perfect costume, particularly Pinterest (17 percent), which has seen 133 percent growth since 2012. Some other places for inspiration include friends/family (19 percent), Facebook (17 percent), pop culture (16 percent) and print media (14 percent).