More spending expected this Halloween

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Let's do the time warp again.

Rather than give in to fear after what's been a pretty scary year, more Americans than ever are planning to party like the good old days and immerse themselves in Halloween ghoulishness, according to the National Retail Federation.

Almost 70 percent plan to celebrate the holiday of witches, skeletons and free candy from strangers, up from about 64 percent last year and the most in a decade, according to a consumer survey done for the retail trade group by BIGresearch of Columbus, Ohio.

Spending should be up, too, with the average person buying $72.31 worth of decorations, costumes and candy, up from $66.28 last year. Total Halloween spending is projected to hit $6.86 billion, compared to the $5.8 billion predicted for last year.

The poll involved more than 9,000 consumers contacted between Sept. 6 and Sept. 14.

"Eager to shake off the summer heat and forget about the economy for a few days, Americans are looking forward to having some fun this Halloween," said Matthew Shay, president and CEO, in the official release on the new data.

The retail federation's predictions align pretty well with those from PriceGrabber, a Los Angeles-based online shopping site owned by Experian, that surveyed about 2,000 online consumers between Aug. 30 and Sept 7. That research found 48 percent of those with children planned to buy the young ones a new costume this year.

More than 70 percent of the PriceGrabber respondents plan to decorate their homes for Halloween, with more than two-thirds ready to buy decorations rather than go with homemade.

Neither survey found consumers entirely oblivious to that scary economy under the bed. The National Retail Federation survey found one-third of respondents expecting the state of the U.S. economy would affect their holiday plans, forcing them to try to spend less by making costumes or buying less candy.

Teresa Lindeman: or 412-263-2018.


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